Memphis, Tenn. — The Southern Virginia University men's cross country team competed at the NCAA Division III South/Southeast Regional Championships on Saturday, with Mike Myers punching a ticket to the NCAA Championships after an impressive sixth-place finish.
As a team, the men finished 15th out of the 36 competing teams. The 8K course consisted of 33 teams and nearly 240 total runners.
Myers individual performance makes Southern Virginia history as the first to qualify for nationals. The sixth-place finish is also the highest placement at the regional championships by an individual in program history.
"Mike came in knowing he had a real good chance to qualify for nationals," said head coach Kyle Chandler. "The possibility adds pressure to a runner; and when it hasn't happened in program history, pressure mounts. He handled the pressure like a pro. Though a slow start, he manuevered his way to the lead pack and positioned himself for success. I'm so proud of him as this has been a goal he has worked on and sacrificed for —and it is nice to see that work and sacrifice come to fruition."
The senior crossed the finish line with a time of 25:16.1, over a minute faster than the previous year.
"This is a dream come true for me," said Myers. " I've always wanted the opportunity to compet in the National Championship race. To be the first from Southern Virginia to make it there and represent the University in Louisville feels special. I'm grateful for family, teammates, and coaches who believed in me. I may have qualified individually but it wasn't an individual effort because of their support."
The Knights all season long had seen strong performances from the young talent and today wasn't any different as freshmen Murray Bingham and Kazdyn Chandler came in second and third on the team. Bingham produced a 49th overall finish with a time of 26:38.6 while Chandler came in 53rd at 26:42.2. Caden Eskelsen and Joseph Morphonios wrapped up the Southern Virginia top-five.
"Our team produced strong results today," said Chandler. "What the results won't show is Murray right with the lead group until the third mile. He had a great competitive spirit as he took a risk to give him a better chance at a higher finish. Kazdyn came on strong in the second half of the race . They now have the third and fourth best finishes in program history after their strong races. Caden did a great job stepping into the four spot and Joseph gave great effor despite missing some training due to sickness."
The NCAA Championships will be on Saturday, Nov. 23 at Louisville, Kentucky, race time is schedule for 10:45 a.m. ET.