Bulldogs Listed 19th Nationally Entering NCAA-II Championships

The Ferris State University women's cross country team has vaulted back into the national rankings this week (Nov. 14) as the Bulldogs are listed 19th in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division II Rankings following a third-place performance in last Saturday's (Nov. 8) NCAA-II Midwest Regional Championships held at FSU's Katke Golf Course in Big Rapids, Mich.

Cross Country Regional Photo The Bulldogs, who are guided by interim head coach Steve Picucci this fall, are one of three schools from the Midwest Region and the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) found in this week's poll. Grand Valley State (second) and Wayne State (ninth) are also included in the most recent listing.

Adams State (Colo.) holds down the top position in the poll followed by GVSU, Augustana (S.D.), Western State (Colo.) and Chico State (Calif.) in the top five. The Bulldogs previously also were listed 19th nationally early this season (Sept. 12) before falling out of the rankings.

In addition to the national ranking, the Bulldog women are also ranked third in this season's final Midwest Regional Rankings as announced by the USTFCCCA by virtue of their regional finish. GVSU finished on top of the regional poll with Wayne State second following the order of finish at the regional meet. The USTFCCCA releases a regional and national poll each week throughout the fall season.

Ferris State qualified for the NCAA Division II National Championships for the first time since 1987 by placing third overall at last Saturday's regional. FSU tallied 111 total points and narrowly edged Southern Indiana by two points for the final team qualifying berth as the top three women's teams advanced to the national championships. Ferris entered the regional meet listed fifth in last week's USTFCCCA Midwest Regional Rankings, but moved past two nationally top-20 ranked teams in Southern Indiana and Wisconsin-Parkside to place third overall at the event.

Grand Valley State captured the women's regional crown with 35 points followed by Wayne State in second place (90).

The regional event, which was hosted by Ferris State, drew nearly 300 competitors and included men's and women's teams from more than 20 institutions. All-Region awards were presented to the top 15 finishers in both the men's and women's races.

The 28th annual NCAA Division II Championships will be held Saturday, Nov. 22, at Slippery Rock, Pa. The women's 6K national championship race is slated for 1:15 p.m. (EST) and will take place at Cooper's Lake Campground.

This year's third place regional effort was the program's best showing since an identical third-place finish at the 1990 NCAA-II Great Lakes Regional Championships. It represents only the third time in history the Bulldog women's cross country team has qualified as a team for the national championships and will be the program's first appearance since 1987. Ferris claimed Great Lakes Regional crowns in both 1981 and 1987 to advance to the NCAA-II Championships where they placed eighth and 11th overall, respectively.

Former FSU All-American Jenny Irwin was the most recent Bulldog to compete individually at the national championships and became the first female women's cross country All-American in Bulldog history with a 20th-place finish in 2005 at Pomona, Calif. Her performance also marked the highest finish ever for a FSU women's performer at the Division II Women's Cross Country Championships.

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