For the second straight year, both the men’s and women’s Huntington University cross country teams will compete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Cross Country Championships. The Foresters will run on Friday, April 9, at Seminole Valley Park in Cedar Rapids, IA.
The Huntington men hold the top spot nationally having picked off Taylor, ranked No. 1 at the time, in the Crossroads League Championships last fall.
“For the first time in program history, we are entering the National Championship meet as the number one ranked team in the country,” said Coach Lauren Johnson. “We will have a target on our backs, but the men are ready and have worked together toward this goal for a year and a half now. It’s no secret that they fully intend to win the program’s first national team title.”
HU received one of the 25 automatic bids as the CL champions. The men’s race will also feature 10 at-large berths, the host school Mount Mercy and 96 athletes competing as individuals. It’s the Foresters’ seventh trip to NAIA Nationals with the first appearance dating back to 1998. Huntington finished sixth in 1999 which marks the highest finish in program history.
On the women’s side, the Foresters, ranked seventh in the final poll, received one of the eight at-large berths. The rest of the field is made up of 27 automatic qualifiers, one host berth and 98 individual qualifiers.
This trip is HU’s eighth to the big stage with their first dating back to 1991. Last year’s 10th place finish marks the program’s highest finish.
Both races will be broadcast for the first time this year on the NAIA Network. To access the live video stream and purchase a pass, visit portal.stretchinternet.com/naia/.