Wildcats Finish Fourth, Await National Championships Fate

Wildcats Finish Fourth, Await National Championships Fate

CEDARVILLE, Ohio—No. 17 Northern Michigan University Women's Cross Country placed fourth in the loaded field at the NCAA Division II Midwest Region Championships Saturday afternoon. Individually, three runners were honored with all-region accolades for their performance at the meet hosted by Cedarville University.  

For the fourth-consecutive year, senior Kameron Burmeister (Menominee, Michigan) turned in an all-region performance with the honor going to the top-25 overall finishers at the events. Burmeister was the fifth runner to cross the finish line, finishing with a season-best time of 21 minutes, 38.90 seconds.

Two more all-region runners gave NMU their most since the 2003 season with three. Senior Vivian Hett (Burnsville, Minnesota) also turned in a season-best performance by nearly 30 seconds to finish 14th with a time of 21:59.00. Sophomore Katelyn Smith (Gaylord, Michigan) was the third fastest NMU finisher placing 19th, crossing the finish line in 22:02.60.

The final four Wildcat runners all finished within 15 places of each other to secure the fourth-place finish. Junior Abby Fifarek (Buckley, Michigan) ended with a time 22:45.60 to place 40th, while junior Sophie McDonald (Park City, Utah) also placed in the top 50 finishing 48th in 22:58.00. Rounding out the NMU runners were senior Kieren Becker (Fowler, Michigan) and sophomore Hanna Torvi (St. Paul, Minnesota) who finished 51st and 55th, respectively. Becker crossed the finish line in 23:04.00, while Torvi finished in 23:08.10.

No. 10 Walsh University's Sara Berger took the top individual spot with a time of 21:19.40. Hannah McIntyre of No. 8 Hillsdale College was runner-up with a time of 21:25.50, while No. 2 Grand Valley State University's Kelly Haubert rounded out the top-three individual finishers at the event.

NMU just missed on earning an automatic bid to the national meet as the top-three finishing programs earned a bid to the NCAA II National Championships in two weeks. This year's Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Champions and the defending national Championship, GVSU took the top spot with 46 points. Hillsdale and Walsh also earned automatic bids placing second and third.

The NCAA II National Championships are set to be held November 18 in Evansville, Indiana. Three teams from each of the eight regions will earn automatic bids this weekend. On Monday, eight more at-large teams from around the country will be chosen to complete the 32-team National Championships field.

A year ago, the Wildcats placed 14th at the national meet, and finished ninth in 2015. The 2002 team turned in a program best fourth-place finish at the NCAA II National Championships.

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