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Kali Duffy / Staff Photographer

Women's cross country finished outside of the top five just once all season, while the men's squad did so three times.

Cross country finished fourth on the women’s side at the NCAA Northeast Regional Championships to earn selection to the NCAA National Championships, while the men finished fifth and fell just short of Nationals.

Driven by junior Erin Gregoire’s time of 22:00.6 for an eighth-place finish on the 6k course, the women’s side will head to Nationals for the first time since 2005. Seniors Sarah Hardie and Erin Melly also contributed for the Lions with finishes of 12th and 17th place, respectively.

Senior Nell Crosby, who led the Lions to an Ivy League title by finishing fourth at the championship race two weeks ago to earn first team All-Ivy honors, ran an uncharacteristic race and finished in 46th place with a time of 22:46.6.

The top two teams from each of the nine national regions automatically qualified for Nationals. The Columbia women’s team, along with 12 other teams, was selected on Saturday to join the regional winners based on their at-large performance throughout the season.

The men’s side finished fifth on the 10k course, behind junior Dan Schumacher’s time of 32:45.2 and 29th place finish. Senior Ryan Thomas crossed the finish line next for the Lions in 39th, followed by fellow-senior Dylan Tarpey in 46th.

Overall, the men’s side gathered 223 points compared to Syracuse and Iona, which collected 28 and 48 points, respectively, to earn the automatic bids. The women’s race was much tighter, as Columbia collected 120 points, while the top two finishers, Providence and Dartmouth, accumulated 84 and 115 points.

The men have been unable to recover from a 33rd place finish at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational in mid-October that knocked them out of the top 30 USTFCCCA national rankings. A second-place finish at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships, paired with a fifth-place finish at Northeast Regionals, did not net them enough at-large points to earn a selection to nationals.

While the men’s season has come to a disappointing close, the women will seek to build on their recent regional success on the national stage. Gregoire will aim to continue leading the pack, while Crosby will look to bounce back from her recent lackluster performance.

The NCAA Championships will take place on Nov. 18 in Louisville, Kentucky, with the women’s race set to begin at 10:45 a.m.

alexander.brett@columbiaspectator.com | @CUSpecSports

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