NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Belmont women's cross country team prepares to compete at the NCAA South Regional on Friday in Tuscaloosa, Ala., after building on strong performances throughout the season.
Belmont enters the regional championship ranked 15th in the South Region, after finishing fifth at the OVC Cross Country Championship. Wittman battled to take second place overall with a time of 17:15.6. For her efforts, she was named All-OVC First Team on the heels of being named Female Athlete of the Year in a ceremony the night before the competition. Along with Wittman, three other runners finished in the top-40 – sophomore Kiera Weems (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) took 29th, followed by junior Hannah Denton (Burns, Tenn.) and freshman Mallory Young (Signal Mountain, Tenn.), who placed 37th and 38th, respectively.
BU returns to the Harry Pritchett Running Park for a second time after tackling the course earlier in the season at the Crimson Classic. Hitting the course for the Bruins will be Wittman and classmate Jessie Wynn (Peoria, Ill.), Denton, Weems, and freshmen Bailee Dean (Nolensville, Tenn.) and Mallory Young (Signal Mountain, Tenn.)
The Bruin harriers will be competing against runners from two nationally ranked programs in 17th-ranked Mississippi State and 27th-ranked Vanderbilt as well as competitors from 33 other programs including Alabama, Alabama State, Auburn, Central Florida, Chattanooga, East Tennessee State, Florida, Florida A&M, Florida Gulf Coast, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Georgia Tech, Florida Atlantic, Jacksonville, Kennesaw State, Lipscomb, Memphis, Mercer, Miami, Middle Tennessee State, Mississippi, North Florida, Samford, South Alabama, South Florida, Southern Miss, Tennessee, UAB, and OVC foes Austin Peay, Tennessee Tech and UT Martin.
The top two teams from each of the nine regionals will qualify for the NCAA Championship. Thirteen (13) other teams will be at-large selections chosen by the NCAA Division I track and field and cross country sub-committee. In addition, 38 individuals will automatically qualify for the championship by being one of the top four regional finishers not on an advancing team. Two additional individuals are at-large selections by the sub-committee. Individuals and teams with top performances will advance to the National Championship Meet in Louisville, Ky., at E.P. 'Tom' Sawyer State Park on November 21.
The women's 6K race begins at 9 a.m. CT in Tuscaloosa. The race will be contested at the Harry Pritchett Running Park. Live stats will be available.