LOGAN, Utah – For just the second time in program history, Utah State’s men’s cross country team was selected to participate in the NCAA Division I Cross Country National Championships, which will take place on Saturday, Nov. 23, in Terre Haute, Ind.
“Qualifying for nationals has been the main goal for these guys this year, and to have them accomplish it is extremely gratifying,” said third-year USU head coach Artie Gulden. “They came together as a unit back in August and were as determined as any time I have ever seen. It will be an honor for them to represent themselves, their teammates, their families and Utah State at the NCAA Championships.”
The 20th-ranked Aggies earned an at-large berth, announced during the NCAA DI selection show on Saturday afternoon. The top-two teams from each region automatically qualified for the meet, while Utah State earned an at-large bid, along with 12 other teams. This is USU’s second at-large berth to the NCAA Championships, after earning one in 2017, as well.
“This year has been a really special year for our team,” said senior Adam Hendrickson. “Many of us have ran together for the last four years. As a team, we have been through a lot together, the ups and downs. At the beginning of this season, we set some big goals on what we wanted to accomplish, and it was really cool to see everyone come together to work toward them.”
At the NCAA Mountain Region Championships on Friday at Rose Park Golf Course in Salt Lake City, Utah State place fourth overall with 101 points. This was the highest finish ever for the Aggies at a regional championship. USU also had five runners place in the top-25 of the meet to earn all-region honors.
Utah State’s trip to the NCAA Championships caps a season in which the Aggies won five meets, including finishing first in a 44-team field at the Paul Short Run on Oct. 5, and winning their first-ever Mountain West Championship on Nov. 1. The team has spent the majority of the season nationally ranked, peaking at No. 4 in the regional rankings and No. 20 in the national rankings.
“We were able to see the thousands of miles our team has ran since the beginning of summer pay off with a conference title and qualifying for nationals,” Hendrickson said. “All that has been very special, but what we want to do next week is even bigger.”
The NCAA Championships will be hosted by Indiana State at LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute.