NC State cross country competed at the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships at Panorama Farms in Charlottesville, Virginia on Friday morning. The women won the event for the fourth year in a row and the men finished third despite being ranked ninth in the region.
Led by senior first-place finisher Elly Henes, the NC State women earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships for the 33rd time, the most of any Division I program in the country, according to gopack.com.
The men did not secure an automatic bid and will wait for the selection show on Saturday, Nov. 16 at 5 p.m. to find out if they will receive an at-large bid to the season’s final event.
The No. 5 women totaled just 48 points in its first five finishers, winning the crown by 35 points to Furman, which finished second with 83 points.
Henes led the way, running the 6K in 19:48.9, a 5:18 pace, six seconds in front of Furman’s Gabrielle Jennings. Of 258 finishers, Henes was right behind the leaders in the 2K and 3K splits, but took the lead before the 5K marker and never looked back.
She also took first place at the ACC’s a couple of weeks ago and certainly wanted to win this race after finishing in second at the regional last year.
All seven racers finished in the top 30 and the top-five racers, the competitors that count to the point total, finished in the top 20. Freshman Kelsey Chmiel finished fourth with a time of 20:02.6 and junior Julia Zachgo crossed the line just 10 seconds later in sixth.
Redshirt freshman Mariah Howlett, sophomore Savannah Shaw, junior Isabel Zimmermann and freshman Sam Bush rounded out the Pack runners, finishing 19th, 20th, 24th and 35th, respectively.
For the women, all-region honors were awarded to Henes, Chmiel, Zachgo, Howlett, Shaw and Zimmerman.
Behind all the numbers and honors, NC State was led by a senior in Henes, but the young talent was showing full colors on Friday with four freshmen or sophomores competing. Chmiel was the highest freshman finisher and the top first-year finisher for NC State since Laura Hoer won the regional in 2010.
Although the men didn’t leave Virginia with an automatic bid, NC State finished six places higher than its region ranking of nine projected, taking third place behind Virginia (79 points) and Virginia Tech (109 points) with 116 points.
Junior Ian Shanklin was the first Wolfpack member to cross the finish line, coming in sixth, the best regional finish of his career, with a time of 29:50.3. Redshirt junior Gavin Gaynor finished 18th as both Shanklin and Gaynor earned all-region honors.
The last three in the top five, sophomore Hannes Burger, redshirt junior Tim Bason and redshirt freshman Nate Kawalec, finished within 10 seconds of each other in 27th, 31st and 34th, respectively.
Redshirt senior Tanis Baldwin finished 67th and redshirt freshman Ares Epps finished 107th of 247 finishers to round out NC State’s competitors.
Indiana State will host the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, Indiana on Saturday, Nov. 23.