Kansas freshman Benson Chesang (Ravine, Kenya) has automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships after his performance at the Midwest Regional Championships.
Chesang, who has led the Kansas men throughout the 2003 season, paced the Jayhawks at the Midwest Regional Championships, finishing the 10k race in a time of 30:41, placing second overall and leading KU to its highest regional finish (fourth) since 1994. Chesang was also named to the All-Big 12 cross country team and received Big 12 Men's Runner of the Week honors after his second-place performance at the OSU Cowboy Jamboree
"It feels great that I was able to qualify for Nationals" Chesang said. "I am really looking forward to it. Even though the team didn't qualify for Nationals I thought they ran quite well."
There are nine NCAA cross country regions. The two teams which place the highest at each region's championship race automatically qualify for the NCAA Cross Country Championships, totalling 18 men's and 18 women's teams. Thirteen additional teams have the chance of becoming an at-large selection. In addition, the top four finishers of the remaining teams (teams that have not qualified automatically or by way of an at-large selection) individually qualify for the NCAA Championships race.
The University of Northern Iowa will host the 2003 NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Cross Country Championships, Nov. 24, at the Irv Warren Memorial Golf Course in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The men's race will begin at 11 a.m. followed by the women's race at 12:15 p.m. Chesang is familiar with the 8k course, having run there at the Pre-Nationals Invitational on Oct. 18, finishing 19th in a time of 24:03.
Results of the meet will be available on the cross country page of the Northern Iowa athletics website (www.unipanthers.com) as well as the cross country page of the NCAA website (www.ncaasports.com) following the meet.