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BU cross country wins NCAA bid

Nov. 17, 2004

By MEREDITH AMOS, reporter

After finishing third at the NCAA South Central Regional Saturday, the Baylor women's cross country team won a bid to attend the NCAA Cross Country Championships at Indiana State University on Monday.

Just missing the one top two automatic-qualifying spots to Southern Methodist University and the University of Arkansas, the team was awarded one of 13 at-large berths.

As one of 31 teams selected, the Baylor women's team marks its second consecutive year to compete at the national level.

"The girls have overcome a lot this year," head Coach Todd Harbour, said.

"They've had difficulties, disappointments and injuries, but they stuck together through it all," he said.

Houston sophomore Brittany Brockman finished in third place, earning the best time for the team as well as a spot in the individual NCAA Cross Country Championships.

She attributes her success to "running hard all summer," 70-80 miles per week, and the support of her teammates.

"We work really well together as a team," Brockman said.

"And we get along really well, which makes a good team. We all bonded early in the season," Brockman said.

Monique Ortega and Jessa Chance finished out Baylor's top three times, winning 12th and 18th place at the regional competition.

However, Baylor's pick as one on the 13 at-large qualifiers was based on more than solely this race.

According to Harbour, the entire team's performance throughout the season influenced the NCAA's choice.

"Several of the girls have had to run through the pain of arthritis or surgery," Harbour said.

"That fact is a testimony to the team's character and faith. It's been a good group to work with," Harbour said.

Brockman also said everyone on the team has had to conquer adversity this season.

"It's an honor to go to nationals," she said. "And we've all had to overcome injuries or personal problems."

The team will run in the 2004 NCAA Division I Women's Cross Country Championships at 11 a.m. EST Monday at Indiana State University's La Vern Gibson Championship Course in Terre Haute, Ind.