Nov. 16, 2005
NCAA Cross Country Championships
Monday November 21, 2005 LaVern Gibson Championship Course, Terre Haute, Ind. 1:15 p.m. ET - Women's 6,000m Championship Race
PULLMAN - Washington State sophomore Haley Paul will compete as an at-large qualifier at the NCAA Cross Country Championships at Terre Haute, Ind. Monday, Nov. 21. The Cougar sophomore earned the first cross country championship berth for WSU since Anna Blue in 2003 when she placed ninth at the NCAA West Regional meet on November 12.
"I'm really excited to go to the NCAAs because this is my first national competition in college," Paul said. "I always thought I could run at this level and I didn't want to come back to Pullman (after Regionals) finished with my cross country season."
Indiana State University will host the 2005 NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Cross Country Championships at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course located at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center. The men's race will begin at noon Eastern time followed by the women's race at 1:15 p.m.
"We were very excited about Haley's performance at the NCAA Regionals," said WSU Head Cross Country Coach Jason Drake. "Haley has really made the commitment to being a great athlete, and it has paid off. Her goal has been to become an All-American, and I feel she is on her way." Paul is the second qualifying NCAA competitor Drake has coached at Washington State.
Paul, from Phoenix, Ariz., returns to the course where she placed 21st at the Pre-National meet on October 15. "I made a deal to myself when we went to Terre Haute for Pre-Nationals earlier in the season," Paul said. "I looked around after the race, and said, `I'll be back.'"
She will look to become the first Cougar cross country runner to earn All-American honors since Everlyne Lagat in 2001. All-American honors are given to the top 30 American finishers in the race. This would be Paul's first All-American team as a WSU athlete in cross country or track.
"My ultimate goal (for Nationals) would be top 35, and being named an All-American would be icing on the cake for this season," Paul said. "If I race like I've been racing all year, I should be able to finish strong and make the top 35."
Thirty-one teams were selected to participate in each championship. The top two, seven-person teams automatically qualified from each of the nine regions, for a total of 18 teams. Thirteen additional teams were selected at-large. Thirty-eight individuals, the first four athletes from each region who are not a part of a qualifying team and two additional qualifiers, were selected to participate in each championship. All individual qualifiers must finish in the top 25 in their region.
Paul is the first cross country athlete to represent WSU at the NCAA Championships since Anna Blue finished 78th in 2003 and Everlyne Lagat finished 30th in 2001. Two of the last three Cougar women to run at NCAA Championships have earned All-American honors, Lagat in 2001 and Megan Maynard in 1998.