CHARLOTTE, N.C. - King College has punched a ticket to the 2010 NCAA Division II Women's Cross Country National Champion with a second-place finish at Saturday's NCAA Division II Southeast Region Championship.
The Lady Tornado Cross Country squad is the first King program to qualify for a NCAA National Championship in the school's first season as a NCAA Division II institution.
The NCAA Division II Cross Country National Championship will be contested on Dec. 4 in Louisville, Ky.
"To be the first team to represent King College at an NCAA National Championships is a huge achievement for the college and for the cross country program specifically," said King head cross country coach Peter Dalton.
King entered the event as the No. 2 ranked team in the Southeast Region according to the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association and the team held the ranking for the region championship.
The Lady Tornado used a team score of 91 points to edge Columbus State (Ga.) University for second by two points. Queens (N.C.) University of Charlotte ran to the team crown with 40 points. The team champion placed four on the All-Region list and three in the Top-6.
Leading the pace for King was senior Carrie Nelson (Independence, Va.) in eighth. She needed 22 minutes and 12.4 seconds to cover the 6,000-meter layout.
Close behind in 13th was Danielle Beauvais (Danville, Va.). She crossed the finish line at the 22:45.9 mark.
Both Nelson and Beauvais along with the rest of the Top-15 finishers earn All-Region honors.
Kendra Sokol (Kingsport, Tenn.) just missed All-Region honors with her 19th-place run. Sokol ran the race in 23:17.5. Danielle Alfano (Chattanooga, Tenn.) added a 24th-place finish with her performance in 23:44.1. Hannah Witt (Mountain City, Tenn.) cracked the Top-5 for King with a 23:51.6 run.
"The ladies on the team deserve all the credit, they have done a great job all season and they executed the plan to perfection today," Dalton said about the group.
Augusta State (Ga.) University and Anderson (S.C.) University were a distance fourth and fifth, respectively.
Lenoir-Rhyne (N.C.) University's Kate Griewisch took home individual championship honors with her performance of 20:55.6, winning by 36 seconds. It was her second straight individual crown which gives her a trip to the NCAA Nationals.
"Being ranked sixth to start the season just did not sit well with the Lady Tornado team and they were determined to prove to the entire NCAA Southeast Region that they should be respected," Dalton added. "Throughout the season each individual focused on their personal weaknesses, and went to work, so that ultimately the team could be stronger."
This was the first time the event had been hosted by Queens at the McAlpine Park.