PITTSBURGH, Pa. – For just the third time in school history, the Augusta University men's cross country team will race at the NCAA Championships on Saturday, Dec. 1 in Pittsburgh, Pa.
>>> Information, Tickets, & Schedules are available at ncaa.com/d2festival
The men's 10K race will be begin at 11:00 a.m. at Schenley Park. More than 900 student-athletes will travel to Pittsburgh to compete for six NCAA fall championships from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1 in the 2018 NCAA Division II National Championships Festival. This is the 11th Division II festival to be held, and Pittsburgh is the seventh city to host the Olympic-style event.
"Going back to nationals is a great accomplishment for this program and these young men," head coach Adam Ward said. "These guys have worked hard since May putting in many, many miles, often on their own in the early morning hours in the hot summer heat. They know there is more to do, but this was a huge accomplishment for such a young team."
Ward, who was voted the NCAA Southeast Region Coach of the Year, has a young roster of nine freshmen, three sophomores, and a lone senior. The Jaguars finished third or better all season, including two wins, a runner-up finish at the Peach Belt Conference Championships, and third at the NCAA Southeast Regionals. Four Jags were named All-Region and All-Conference this season.
"We know there are stages to winning and last year the guys accomplished the first goal, qualifying for NCAAs. This year we wanted to do more than just qualify, we want to be competitive on the national stage. The third stage, or step, would be grabbing a trophy. I'm not sure we are there, yet, but next weekend's conditions and course will make things difficult for some squads who don't come in mentally and physically prepared to deal with those."
This is AU's third time reaching the NCAA finals as a team and the second time in back-to-back years. The Jags reached the 2017 NCAA Championships and placed 23rd as a team and advanced in 2013 to take 31st. Individually, Augusta has been represented in two seasons. Jaiden Brandt make the trip in 2012 and Nick Del Guercio in 2015.
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