Conway, S.C.- The Coastal Carolina Women's Cross Country team will head to Louisville, Ky., to compete in the 2006 NCAA Women's Regionals meet this weekend. The event will begin at 11 a.m. ET with the women's 6-kilometer race followed by the men's 10-kilometer race at 12:15 p.m., and will conclude with an awards ceremony at 1 p.m. The top two teams in each race will earn automatic bids to the NCAA Championships on Nov. 20 in Terre Haute, Ind. The Lady Chanticleers will look to get the victory in the rematch against Liberty, who won the Big South Championship title by five points.
The Lady Chanticleers are going after their seventh Southeast Region Top Ten finish in the past 10 years. Since 1996, Coastal has had six top ten finishes, the highest being third in 1996. Last year the Lady Chanticleers finished seventh. Last year, six teams out of the Southeast Region made it to nationals. Coastal was a "bubble" team from the region and just missed making the 31 team national field. Coastal will be looking to qualify not only as a team, but for an individual as well. The Lady Chanticleers have had six runners qualify since 1996. The top four individuals not on teams that land spots at nationals qualify for the NCAA National Championships as individuals.
The Big South Conference will send Coastal, Charleston Southern, Liberty, High Point, Radford, VMI, UNC Asheville and Winthrop to Louisville while Birmingham-Southern travels to Knoxville for this year's Regionals meet. Leading the way in the women's race is North Carolina State, currently ranked No. 2 in this week's USTFCCCA Division I Top 30 Poll. The top challenge for the Atlantic Coast Conference Champions should come from ACC foe Duke, ranked 14th this week, No. 22 Virginia and No. 26 Virginia Tech.
The NCAA Southeast Regional in Louisville is one of nine regional events around the nation scheduled for Saturday where the top two teams in each race will earn automatic bids (18 men and 18 women) to the national championships. The remaining 13 spots in the field of 31 for each championship race will be filled by at large selections based on points scored against other championship caliber squads.
The Lady Chanticleers will be led by freshman Julia Viellehner (Winhoring, Germany/Maria Ward Gymnasium) who won the Big South Championship earning her Runner and Freshman of the year accolades. Viellehner, Diana Jepchirchir (Kampala, Uganda/University of New Orleans) and Felicitas Mensing (Neuhausen, Germany/Leplergy Secondary) all earned spots on the 2006 All-Big South Team. Mensing also was named to the 2006 Big South All-Academic Team.