Courtesy: Paul Hokanson/UB Athletics
Brooke Morgan and the Chippewas will compete at the 2012 NCAA Great Lakes Regional in Madison, Wis, on Friday.
Cross Country Looks for NCAA Bid at Great Lakes Regional

MOUNT PLEASANT - The Central Michigan women’s and men’s cross country teams will compete in the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Meet in Madison, Wis., Friday for the opportunity to compete at the NCAA National Championship.

The women’s six-kilometer race is set to begin at 1 p.m. EST, followed by the men’s 10-kilometer race at 2:15 p.m. EST at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course.

The Chippewas most recently finished fourth of 12 at the Mid-American Conference Championships two weekends ago, and are 13th in the USTFCCCA Great Lakes Region rankings.

Central Michigan finished eighth at the 2011 Great Lakes Regional, but enter the 2012 meet with a largely inexperienced team at the NCAA level. Just three runners from the 2011 Regional team - junior first-team All-MAC honoree Krista Parks and seniors Veronica Garcia and Maddie Ribant - return for the Chippewas this season, joined by six Regional newcomers.

Parks has led the way for the Chippewas all season, most recently finishing sixth at the MAC Championship for first-team All-MAC honors. She finished 49th at the 2011 Great Lakes Regional.

With Parks running out front for the Chippewas, her teammates have working together as a pack and moving themselves deeper into the front of the field in each race.

Junior Shelby Thren, seniors Garcia and Ribant, redshirt freshman Alyssa Dyer and Jacquee Overbeek, and true freshmen Bailey Parmelee, Brooke Morgan and Kelly Schubert have all been in play for scoring lineup spots throughout the season and will be competing for the Chippewas at regionals.

Parks and the Chippewas need to finish in the top two in the region to secure a team berth, though a finish between in third or fourth could potentially earn the team an at-large bid. Individual runners can qualify by finishing among the top seven runners who are not members of a qualifying team.

The field will be stacked with impressive competition, headlined by No. 6 Michigan, No. 11 Michigan State, reigning MAC Champion No.18 Toledo, No. 23 Notre Dame and No. 33 Butler.