Gonzales Will Represent UNM At XC National Championships
INDIANAPOLIS -- The NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Track and Field Committee announced today the team and individual qualifiers for the 2002 Division I Men's and Women's Cross Country Championships. The University of New Mexico men's team was not given an at-large bid to the meet.
In order to be eligible to participate in the championships, teams and individuals must qualify in their respective NCAA regions.
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.
New Mexico's men's team, which has received votes in the national coaches poll for eight-straight weeks and was ranked as high as 27th in the country, just missed earning its first trip to the national meet since 1988. The Lobos finished seventh at last weekend's NCAA Mountain Region Championships in Albuquerque, a mere six points behind No. 15 Colorado State. The Rams were given the fourth and final at-large bid from the Mountain region.
The Lobo men (7 votes) were passed over for a pair of teams which were ranked beneath them in the most recent top-30 coaches poll on Nov. 5. Notre Dame (4 votes) and Texas A&M (no votes) both earned at-large bids out of the Great Lakes and South Central regions, respectively. The Fighting Irish, who were ranked as high as 20th earlier in the season, qualified despite finishing eighth in their region. Meanwhile, the Aggies were selected based upon their third place regional finish, despite never receiving a top-30 vote this season.
UNM's lone representative will be junior Matt Gonzales, who placed 30th and earned All-America honors at last year's national championship meet in Greenville, S.C. Gonzales was an automatic selection after finishing 9th last weekend. The two-time all-MWC cross country selection also earned Division II All-America honors as a true freshman at New Mexico Highlands University.
Thirty-eight individuals, the first four from each region and two additional qualifiers, were selected to participate in each championship. All individual qualifiers must finish in the top 25 in their region.
Indiana State University will host the 2002 NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Cross Country Championships, November 25, at the Wabash Family Sports Center, Terre Haute, Indiana. The women's race will begin at noon. Eastern time followed by the men's race at 1:15 p.m. y