Cross country teams will compete in NCAA regional

The Eastern Michigan University men’s and women’s cross country teams will travel to Madison, Wis. Nov. 9 to participate in the NCAA Great Lakes Regional.

This is one of the most important races of the season. The runners who qualify from the meet will advance to the NCAA Championship in Louisville, Ky. Nov. 17.

The women’s 6K race will begin at 12 p.m. (CST) followed by the men’s 10K race at 1:15 p.m. (CST).

Last season, the women’s cross country team finished in 15th place. Currently, the team is ranked number 13 in the Great Lakes Region.

The Eagles are coming off of a fifth-place finish at the Mid-American Conference Championships that took place last week.

Sophomore Victoria Voronko is expected to perform at a high level in the upcoming meet. This season she was named to the All-MAC first-team for the second consecutive year. Last season Voronko finished in fifth place with a time of 21:47.7 at the MAC championships.

As a freshman, Voronko placed 36th out of 227 runners with a time of 21:29.2.

“Voronko has been our standout runner all year long,” EMU women’s cross country head coach Sue Parks said. “I have to say that she has the best chance of doing well individually.”

The men’s team has high expectations going into regionals after junior Terefe Ejigu and sophomore Daryl Smith finished first and second in the MAC Championships last season.

Ejigu finished with a time of 24:44.5, while Smith followed a few seconds later at 24:47.8.

With that, the team captured their third consecutive MAC Championship and 17th overall keeping the winning tradition alive.

Last week, Ejigu was named the MAC Scholar Athlete of the Week. Ejigu currently has a 3.43 cumulative grade point average and is majoring in international studies.

“Terefe has had an outstanding season, and he is very confident and looking forward to the opportunity of helping his team in the regionals,” EMU men’s cross country head coach John Goodridge said.

Ejigu and Smith are expected to make some noise at the regionals in a deep and talented field.

“The entire team has had an outstanding regular season and every one of our athletes have set career bests for 8,000-meters and they are looking forward to competing in Wisconsin,” Goodridge said.

Traveling will not affect either team as they are expected to leave two days early to travel to Madison, Wis.

The early arrival will give both teams plenty of time to observe the course and make the proper preparations in order to be in prime gear for the meet.

“We are looking forward to it, and this is our first opportunity to run on the new course. This is a relatively, new permanent cross-country facility that the University of Wisconsin has built. I think it is one of the most outstanding cross-country facilities in the country,” Goodridge said.

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