With a third-place finish Saturday at the NCAA Southeast Regional, the Columbus State University women's cross country team earned a bid to the NCAA Championship held in two weeks. The regional was held in Charlotte, N.C.
One year after winning the region meet, the Lady Cougars bested 28 teams in the 31-team field to earn third place. Wingate University captured the regional crown with 75 overall team points. Flagler College (107) also ran in front of CSU, which finished with 130 points. Clayton State University (147) and UNC Pembroke (170) rounded out the top five.
Wingate, Flagler and Columbus State will advance with the region's automatic bids.
For the first time this season, junior Renee Usher led the way for Columbus State. Usher ran the opening half of the 6k course in 20th place before gaining seven spots and closing in at 13th at 22:49.4.
Senior Moneque English came in five spots behind her teammate in 18th with a time of 23:01.7.
Rayna Green and Caroline Rotich made it four in the top-30 for the Lady Cougars finishing 21st and 28th, respectively. Green posted a 23:07.4 mark while Rotich crossed the line in 23:18.2.
Sophomore Kaitlynn Howard closed out scoring for Columbus State coming in 50th overall in 23:59.0.
Shelby Nelson and Linette Cepeda also ran for the Lady Cougars with Nelson (24:56.2) capturing 85th and Cepeda (25:46.5) taking 112th.
For their performances, Usher, English and Howard were selected to the All-Region team.
Columbus State will now prepare for the NCAA Championship held in Spokane, Wash. on November 23. The Lady Cougars ran 27th in the championship meet one year ago.