Coombs Qualifies for National Championship with Regional Run

Marissa Coombs qualified for the national meet for the second-straight year on Saturday
Marissa Coombs qualified for the national meet for the second-straight year on Saturday

Coombs Qualifies for National Championship with Regional Run

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- Senior Marissa Coombs qualified for the NCAA Division III National Championship with her run Saturday as the Marlins competed at the Division III South/Southeast Regional Cross Country Championships.

Coombs finished the women's race in eighth place, qualifying her for an individual spot in the NCAA Championship. Joining her from the ODAC will be the Lynchburg College and Washington and Lee University squads, which finished fourth and fifth respectively.

Coombs' eighth place finish was the second-best by a female in Virginia Wesleyan history, trailing just her seventh place finish in last year's regional. She posted a time of 21:53.4 on Saturday, 50 seconds better than her time in last year's regional, and two seconds faster than the school record she set at the Don Cathcart Invitational earlier this season.

The women's cross country team finished 21st out of the 34 teams that competed. Emily Latimer was the next Marlin to cross the finish line, finishing 31st with a time of 22:45.9. 

Trinity (Tx.) won the women's cross, followed by Emory and Centre. Trinity and Emory both qualify for the national meet as teams.

The men's team posted a 22nd-place finish out of the 32 team field. Jordan Sulcer paced the Marlins with a 63rd-place finish, stopping the clock with a time of 26:14.0. Louis Wolverton was the second Marlin to finish, crossing the finish line with a time of 26:44.5.

Christopher Newport won the men's race, followed by Rhodes in second, and Emory in third. CNU and Rhodes will both advance their teams to nationals. Grayson Reid of CNU won the individual crown with a time of 24:01.3, followed by Logan McKenzie of Berea and Spencer Fields of Rhodes. Robert Heigel of Bridgewater was the first ODAC competitor to finish, placing sixth with a time of 24:22.1 to qualify for the National Championship, along with Hank Patrick and MacKenzye Leroy of W&L.

Coombs and the rest of the national qualifiers will compete at the Division III National Championship Meet at Principia Elsah, Ill. on Saturday, November 18.