Byrne, NAU qualify for NCAA championships
Northern Arizona men’s cross country, ranked No. 10 punched their ticket to another NCAA National Championship Saturday with their runner-up finish at the Mountain Regional in Albuquerque, N.M., hosted by the University of New Mexico.
Futsum Zienasellassie led the way for the Lumberjacks, jumping out to an early lead before settling into the pack for the middle of the race. The Indianapolis native pulled back out during the final stretch and finished second overall to UTEP’s Anthony Rotich with a 10k time of 29:48.62.
Earning All-Mountain Region honors was Tyler Byrne in 17th with 30:14.59
Byrne, a former standout at North Harrison High School, was an All-American at nationals in 2013 while running for the University of Louisville.
As a team, the men earned an automatic bid to the NCAA National Championships next Saturday in Terre Haute with their second-place finish and score of 68. Returning National Champion No. 1 Colorado put five in the top 13 to win the regional title with a score of 45.
‘The goal of regionals is to qualify,’ Eric Heins, director of track and field and cross country, said. ‘I thought the race played perfectly for us. It wasn’t too fast, and we were able to find a good rhythm. The guys are primed and focused for go for another podium finish.’
Saturday’s NCAA National Championships are hosted by Indiana State University in Terre Haute.