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Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University women's cross country team is headed to the NCAA Division II National Championships for the fourth consecutive year after placing second overall in the 2011 NCAA-II Midwest Regional on Saturday (Nov. 5) hosted by the Bulldogs at FSU's Katke Golf Course in Big Rapids.
The Bulldog women tallied 106 points in placing behind regional champion Grand Valley State (29 points). Saginaw Valley State took third place (135) and Ashland was fourth (193) as the top four women's squads in the 24-team regional field advanced to the national championships.
Meanwhile, the Bulldog men concluded their 2011 season with a fifth-place finish (191 points) and moved up seven spots in the regional meet from a year ago.
The Bulldog women ran without their top two runners in senior Tina Muir and sophomore Samantha Johnson, who both did not compete due to injuries.
Sophomore Anna Rudd paced Ferris State as she finished second overall in a time of 21:35 on the 6K women's course to claim all-region accolades. The women's individual regional champion was Hillsdale's Amanda Putt, who finished the 6K course in a time of 21:26.4.
Bulldog junior Alyssa Osika took 10th place (22:20.8) and was followed by junior Shelby Janutol in the 16th spot (22:38.8) with sophomore Brittany Anderson coming in 27th (23:05.6). Junior Felicia Slate captured 51st place (23:38.7), freshman Kristie Lesage came in 71st (23:56.0) and junior Jordan McGuire was 122nd (25:06.2).
In the men's race, Bulldog junior Tyler Crossman led FSU with a 29th-place finish (33:19.3) in the 10K men's event. Senior Alex Best placed 30th (33:19.4), freshman Andrew Harper was 37th (33:32.4), junior Ryan Chute took 41st place (33:35.1), senior Steve Neshkoff came in 54th (33:55.5), freshman Spencer Gerber placed 60th (34:03.2) and sophomore David Silversmith wound up 65th (34:10.9).
The men's team champion was Grand Valley State with 20 points. Southern Indiana took second (75) and Ashland was third (88) as the top three men's teams moved on to the NCAA-II National Championships. Anthony Witt of Grand Valley State was the men's individual champion as he finished the 10K course in a time of 31:58.5.
The Ferris women's cross country team was ranked sixth in the latest United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division II National Rankings under fourth-year head coach Steve Picucci.
This year marks the second consecutive season in which the Bulldog women have earned runner-up honors at the regional championships.
The Ferris women's cross country team ran to a eighth-place team finish while tying for the highest finish in school history during the 2010 NCAA Division II National Championships last fall (12/4) in Louisville, Ky. It marked the third consecutive trip to nationals for the FSU women.
This year now represents only the sixth time in history the Bulldog women's cross country team has qualified as a team for the national championships as their appearances the last three years (2008-10) were the program's first appearances since 1987.
The NCAA Division II National Championships will be held on Nov. 19 in Spokane, Wash.