The University of Minnesota Duluth’s cross-country program is tied to the NCAA Division II Championship after finishing runner-up today at the NCAA Central Regions in Joplin, MO. The Bulldogs secured automatic qualification by finishing in the top three. Second place marks the Bulldogs’ highest regional finish since 2016 and the program’s tenth overall appearance in the NCAA Division II Championship.

The Bulldogs scored 114 points, finishing behind NSIC rival Augustana (43 points) and ahead of U-Mary (163 points). UMD was ranked 11th by an NSIC All-Conference member of the first team Julia Nielsen (21: 12.99), a 16th place from Mackenzie Hall (21: 25.27), a 24th place from the second Team NSIC All-Conference member Maddie Verkerke (21: 41.67) and a 30th place from the second Team NSIC All-Conference member Morgan Radel (21: 56.04). The remaining Bulldogs finished 32nd (Lauryn Renier – 21: 58.04), 70. (Anna Eich – 22: 38.39) and 114. (Alexandra Robran – 23: 17.98).

“I’m so proud of this group and the way they tirelessly compete against each other,” said UMD head coach for cross country and athletics for men and women Karly groom. “They had a unique ability to face any challenge this year! The championship season is about competing on a different day and I couldn’t be more excited to see what we can do on the biggest stage this season.”

All seven Bulldog runners set the best times of the season and six of the seven Bulldogs set personal bests today. Bulldogs Julia Nielsen, Mackenzie Hall, and Maddie Verkerke all received all regional awards.

The Bulldogs are returning to the NCAA Division II Championships for the first time since 2017, when UMD finished 15th. The NCAA Division II Championship will take place on Saturday, November 20th in St. Leo, FL.

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