Clarksville, Ark.-Sophomore runner Nathan Rankin qualified for the NCAA III Cross Country National Championships following his performance at the NCAA III Regional Saturday.
Rankin received an at-large bid to nationals on Sunday after posting a time of 26:10.92 at the NCAA III South/Southeast Regional in Georgia. Rankin's time placed him 12th overall.
University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh will serve as the host of the championship 8K race November 17. The course is located in Winneconne, Wisconsin (Lake Breeze Golf Club). The men's race starts at 12:15 p.m.
"All year Nathan has told me his goal is to qualify for nationals and fulfilling his goal is just a validation of all the hard work he has put in," said head coach Heidi Pinkerton. "He is willing to do what it takes to make his goals a reality. He has done the things that make a difference like being conscious of his nutrition, stretching, making sure he has the proper amount of sleep and having a positive attitude."
"This is huge for our program," she said. "This is certainly a step in the right direction. We have a young team and seeing Nathan advance motivates his teammates to work harder and aspire for a team qualification in the future."
Rankin's fastest 8K time of the season is 25:28.5, a mark he ran at the Little Rock Invitational.
Rankin is the first cross country runner in program history to advance to nationals. In March, Rankin wrestled at the NCAA III Wrestling National Championships, making him complete the rare feat of having qualified for two sports at the national level in the same year.