WALTHAM, Mass. – The Bentley University women's cross country team will take a number 25 national ranking when it travels across country to Spokane, Wash. for this Saturday's NCAA Division II Championships. It will be the Falcons' first-ever appearance as a team in the championships.
A total of 24 teams will be participating in the nationals, including three unranked teams: Minnesota-Duluth, Montevallo (Ala.) and West Florida. Conversely, there are four teams currently ranked in the top 25 who didn't qualify for the NCAA championships: Northwest Missouri State, Cal Poly Pomona, Edinboro (Pa.) and Southern Indiana.
This is the second straight national ranking that has had first-year head coach Kevin Curtin's club in the number 25 position. One of two East Region teams ranked (Stonehill is15th), the Falcons have finished second in both the Northeast-10 Championships and the NCAA Regional this fall.
Bentley has been led by Northeast-10 Rookie of the Year Tara Dooley (Lee/Lee HS) and junior Amy Varsell (Burlington, Conn./Lewis S. Mills HS), who finished second and fourth, respectively, in the regional championships.
Those two were joined on the All-Region team by sophomore Ashley Nichols (Kenmore, Wash./ Inglemoor HS) and junior Caitlin Fahey (Bridgewater/Coyle-Cassidy HS). Nichols, who'll be returning to her home state for the nationals (albeit nearly 300 miles from her hometown), was 18th in the Regional and Fahey was 20th.
Completing the seven-runner squad that will be traveling to the northwest will be senior captain Evelyn Marrero (Amsterdam, N.Y./Amsterdam HS), senior Brittany Roderman (Boca Raton, Fla./Spanish River HS) and sophomore Leah Schiller (Tipp City, Ohio/Tippecanoe HS).
Saturday's 6,000-meter race will take place at Plantes Ferry Park at 11 am PST.
Bentley was last represented at the NCAA Women's Cross Country Championships in 2008 when Melissa Nash qualified as an individual.