Cross country runners earn bid to national tournament
The Carnegie Mellon University men’s cross country team has reason to celebrate this week, because they were given an at-large bid to the 2016 NCAA Division III Men’s Cross Country Championships. It is the largest and most important tournament in NCAA Division III, so the stakes are high and the players are excited. With this bid, the Tartans will be attending the tournament for the third straight year, and for the 10th time in the last twelve years. Success has been a tradition for the Carnegie Mellon cross country team, and that doesn’t look to be changing this year. On Saturday November 12, the Tartans competed at the Mideast Regional tournament and placed third. This placement won them the bid to the NCAA tournament, and five of the seven Tartan runners that attended the meet earned all-region status after placing in the top 35. The representatives from Carnegie Mellon will be joining three other teams from the University Athletic Association (UAA) at the national tournament. Carnegie Mellon tied for the UAA title with rival Washington University in St. Louis in October. The NCAA championships will be held at the E.P "Tom" Sawyer Park in Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday, November 19. The race is set to start at noon, and even though the Tartans have to travel, they'll be hungry for high placements in the upcoming race so they can prove themselves to the nation.
The men of the Tartan cross country team weren't the only people to make it to a national competition, though. Junior Aparn Alavilli of the Carnegie Mellon women's cross country team also earned herself a spot at the NCAA tournament. Alavilli is now the eighth Tartan in history to earn an individual nomination to competition at the national level. She earned the bid after she competed at the Mideast Regional competition at DeSales University in Center Valley, Pennsylvania on Saturday. Alavilli placed 13th in that race with a time of 22:01 which greatly helped her bid to the NCAA championship. Alavilli also has a leg up on the competition in that she has already ran the course that the NCAA championships will take place on. Her team competed at the Greater Louisville Classic in Kentucky earlier this season, where she finished with a time of 22:31.62. Now she'll have to push herself to the limit if she wants to take a top spot at the national competition. That race is set to begin an hour before the men at 11 a.m., at the same location. The Tartan athletes will surely head to Kentucky ready to make the Tartan name proud.