Lady Tornado running towards potential NCAA bid
BRISTOL, Tenn. - The King College women's cross country team is preparing for the squad's first NCAA Division II Southeast Region Championship meet, to be contested Saturday in Charlotte, N.C.
King, and head coach Peter Dalton, has held the No. 2 region ranking for six straight weeks entering the race. The No. 2 ranking was important down the stretch as the Southeast Region will send the top two team finishers NCAA Division II Southeast Region Championship to the NCAA Division II National Championship on Dec. 4 in which King will try to qualify for in the program's and school's first season as NCAA Division II member.
The Lady Tornado squad was able to see the course that the region championship will be contested on at the Royal Cross Country Challenge on Oct. 15. The Lady Tornado finished 10th in the team standings and was the third NCAA Division II team in the results. Only region foe Queens University was ahead of the Lady Tornado with seven other region teams behind King.
The region race will be held at McAlpine Creek Park in Charlotte, N.C. which has been home to the Footlocker High School Southeast Championship. Runners will cover 6,000 meters on Saturday as the race is scheduled to start at 11:15 a.m.
King had five runners break the 20-minute mark for a second-straight event when the team ran on the region venue. Overall King's margin from the No. 1 to No. 5 runners was just one minute and 32 seconds and the team's average time was 19:13.2 on the 5k course.
Carrie Nelson (Independence, Va.) broke her school record for a second straight event at the Oct. 15 event with a time of 18:17.6, 19 seconds faster than her previous program record. She finished third among NCAA Division II runners in the field and 17th overall.
The last region ranking from the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association had Queens No. 1, followed by King. Columbus State (Ga.) University, Augusta State (Ga.) University and Anderson (S.C.) University held spots No. 3 to No. 5.
UNC Pembroke was No. 6 for a third straight ranking. Lenoir-Rhyne (N.C.) University, Mount Olive (N.C.) College and Clayton State (Ga.) University occupied the No. 7 to No. 9 rankings. Converse (S.C.) College made a return trip to the Top-10 right at No. 10.
The Peach Belt Conference placed four teams in the region's Top-10 ranking, Columbus State, Augusta State, UNC Pembroke and Clayton State. Conference Carolinas members Queens, Mount Olive and Converse were in the Top-10. The South Atlantic put Anderson and Lenoir-Rhyne among the Top-10. King remained the only independent squad in any of the eight region rankings.
The Lady Tornado competed at the Cavalier Open at the University of Virginia on Nov. 5. Team results were not calculated, but Nelson finished second and was the highest attached finisher at the event. Danielle Beauvais (Danville, Va.) and Kendra Sokol (Kingsport, Tenn.) placed fifth and eighth, respectively. King lined up against teams not only from host school Virginia, but more NCAA Division I foes such as, Liberty, Virginia Commonwealth and George Mason.