A 14th place finished proved to be enough to earn senior Layne Hammer a spot in the NCAA Division II Championship as only the second Oklahoma Christian University athlete to qualify for NCAA national postseason competition.
Hammer and the rest of the Oklahoma Christian University men and women’s cross country teams competed in the South Central Region Championship on Saturday in Denver, CO.
Hammer outran every other Heartland Conference member to qualify for the last spot into the national meet with a time of 22:47 and placed 14th out of the 182-woman field. By placing in the top-25, Hammer earned All-Region honors for the second straight season.
Last season, Hammer missed the national-meet-berth by four-tenths of a second at the regional race. This berth was the latest in her achievements as she placed second in last week’s Heartland Conference Championship. She earned one of three individual births into the national meet.
Senior Maci Rich was the Lady Eagle’s second highest placing runner at 52nd with a time of 24:30. Senior Sarah Cobb finished 66th in 24:27.
Other runners for the Lady Eagles included freshman Kelsey Castillo, who finished 121st in 25:55; freshman Rylee Rich, who finished 132nd in 26:05; senior Katie Jones, who finished 158th in 27:05 and redshirt junior Aubree Hughes, who placed 169th in 27:57.
Hammer will represent Oklahoma Christian in the NCAA Division II Championship on Nov. 19th in St. Leo, FL.
The men’s cross country team wrapped up its 2016 season with a 13th place finish, failing to earn a spot in the Division II Championship.
The Eagles ran 2,000-meters longer than their standard collegiate distance, running a 10-kilometer race with 28 teams, and four of the seven Oklahoma Christian Eagles running the longer distance for their first time.
Junior Sisay Gillock led the Eagles and placed 34th out of the 193-man field with a time of 32:59.
Junior Evan McQuirk finished as the second fastest runner for the Eagles, placing 52nd with a time of 33:59. Kyle Broaddrick was the third place runner for the Eagles, placing 62nd in 33:44.
The fourth and fifth runners for the Eagles were Evan Durrill, who placed in 107th in 34:59, and junior Emory Lobley, who finished 121st with a time of 35:19. The final two runners for Oklahoma Christian were sophomores Trevor Talley, who finished 153rd in 36:19, and Jake Weith, who finished with a time of 36:33 in 160th place.
Statistics provided by the Oklahoma Christian University Sports Information Office.