PEORIA, Ill. –Junior Aubrey Roberts earned her third-straight NCAA Championships appearance with a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Midwest Regional at Bradley University on Friday morning, while Northwestern finished fifth place overall out of 34 teams.
Roberts crossed the line in 20:24.0 and was one of only six athletes to break 20:30 on the 6K Newman Golf Course. The Eau Claire, Wisconsin native finished in fourth place in the regional meet for the third time in her career as she also took fourth place during her first and second years.
During Roberts’ first collegiate season, she became the first Northwestern runner to compete at the NCAA Championships since Audrey Huth qualified as an individual in 2010.
Junior Sarah Nicholson earned All-Region honors as well with a 21st-place finish, crossing the line in 21:08.09.
Northwestern’s fifth-place team finish was its best since the 2012 season when the ‘Cats finished in fourth place at the NCAA Midwest Regional in Springfield, Missouri. The Wildcats topped their 2017 performance by four spots. The ‘Cats finished just two points behind Big Ten competitor Illinois and topped Iowa and Nebraska.
“It was a good day for the Wildcats!” head coach ‘AHavahla Haynes said. “We showed up with every intention of competing for a top-five spot. While the box was checked it is still bittersweet to be two points out of fourth and 21 points from third. It leaves both our coaches and team hungry for more and the future!”
“Aubrey has qualified individually,” Haynes continued. “She has goals to best her first two showings. All signals lead to that happening for her and placing herself in All-American contention.”
The team scoring was rounded first-years Sielle Kearney, Rachel McCardell and senior Isabel Seidel. Nicholson and Kearney finished in the top 50 in a field of 232 runners, crossing the line in 21:08.9 and 21:28.4, respectively. Nicholson has finished in second place behind Roberts in every meet that she has competed in this season for the Wildcats and Kearney’s time was a personal best. McCardell also finished with a personal best time, crossing the line in 21:43.7.
Roberts will represent Northwestern next Saturday, Nov. 17th, at the 2018 NCAA Cross Country Championships, hosted by the University of Wisconsin. The race will mark the third time this season alone that Roberts has run on the Badgers’ cross country course.
Aubrey Roberts (4) – 20:24.0
Sarah Nicholson (21) – 21:08.9
Sielle Kearney (42) – 21:28.4
Rachel McCardell (65) – 21:43.7
Isabel Seidel (73) – 21:49.0
Kelly O’Brien (142) – 22:34.9
Hannah Hall (164) – 22:56.5