FERRIS STATE TO HOST NCAA-II REGIONAL CROSS COUNTRY EVENT
Midwest Region Championships Will Be Held Saturday At Katke Golf Course
The Ferris State University Athletics Department will host the 2008 NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Men's and Women's Cross Country Championships Saturday, Nov. 8, at FSU's Katke Golf Course in Big Rapids, Mich.
The 28th annual women's postseason event and 51st annual men's championships will feature approximately 300 student-athletes and kick off with the men's 10,000-meter (10K) race at 11 a.m. (EST). The women's 6,000-meter (6K) event will follow at 12 p.m. (EST) with the post-race awards ceremony set to begin around 1:30 p.m. (EST). Admission to the event is free of charge and open to the public. Parking is available and located on the property.
The regional field will include 21 men's teams and 22 women's squads from the Midwest Region, which encompasses all schools located in both the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) and the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) along with several independent schools. The top four team finishers in the men's division and top three women's teams as well as the top two individuals not associated with one of those squads will automatically qualify for the 2008 NCAA-II Championships set for Saturday, Nov. 22, at Slippery Rock, Pa. Seven runners will compete per team in the scoring race with the top seven overall finishers attaining first-team all-region recognition.
Katke Golf Course, a university-owned 18-hole golf course situated on the western flank of the Ferris State campus, serves as the home site for all Bulldog cross country along with menís and womenís golf events. The course is named after Mr. and Mrs. Marvin L. Katke, whose generous donation influenced campus development and the initial phase of the golf course. Katke, a friend of Ferris and a Mecosta County native, was vice president for manufacturing of the Ford Motor Company and a 1967 recipient of an honorary degree from FSU.
Katke, which opened in 1974, recently played host to the 2003 GLIAC Cross Country Championships, the 2005 NCAA-II Great Lakes Regional Cross Country Championships along with both the 2004 and 2007 NCAA Division II East Regional Womenís Golf Championships. Both the men's and women's races will start and finish on Katke's 18th hole near the clubhouse.
Last season (2007), Grand Valley State captured both the menís and womenís crowns at the NCAA-II Great Lakes Regional Championships (Nov. 3), which were hosted by Southern Illinois-Edwardsville at Edwardsville, Ill. The Bulldog women placed sixth while the men were 18th in 2007. The NCAA regions were renamed this past summer in conjunction with the organization's new regionalization model.
Among the teams to watch in the womenís division are GVSU and Southern Indiana, which are ranked second and sixth, respectively, in the latest (Oct. 28) NCAA Division II Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association National Poll. Wayne State (17th) and Wisconsin-Parkside (19th) are also listed in the womenís top 25 while the current menís national rankings include regional members GVSU (9th), Southern Indiana (10th), Wayne State (17th), Northern Kentucky (22nd) and Drury (23rd).
The women's race will include Wayne State's Rachelle Malette, who won the individual title in the 2008 GLIAC Championships held last Saturday (Oct. 25) at Tanglewood Marsh Golf Course in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. Also running will be Ferris senior Mikinzie Stuart (Saginaw/Nouvel), who took eighth place at the GLIAC Championships, along with Wisconsin-Parkside's Jessica Monson. Monson claimed her second consecutive GLVC title and broke the league's 6K record in winning the conference race held Oct. 25 in Rolla, Mo.
In the men's field, GLVC Champion Jaime Villa Zapatero of Drury (Mo.) and runner-up Drew Harris of Northern Kentucky are among the competitors. The GLIAC's individual champion Chris Hammer of Grand Valley State also will be competing in addition to Ferris freshman Tyler Crossman (Rapid River), who led the Bulldogs with a 31st-place effort at the GLIAC Championships.
Grand Valley State won both the men's and women's GLIAC titles this season while Southern Indiana had the top men's and women's teams in the GLVC.
Ferris State's women, who fell one spot short of qualifying for the national meet when they last hosted the regional in 2005, captured third place while the Bulldog men took 10th overall at the 2008 GLIAC Championships.