Buffalo, N.Y. — The Lions will make the trip to Buffalo on Friday for the NCAA Cross Country Northeast Regional Championships, hoping to punch their ticket to Louisville next weekend for the NCAA Championships.
The women’s 6k race will begin at 11 a.m., followed by the men’s race at 12 p.m.
The top two teams from each region receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. There is also an opportunity for teams to earn an at-large bid if they do not finish in the top-2.
The women's team is looking to seal a spot at championships for the first time since 2005. When Columbia won Heps on October 27, the Lions knew they could not enjoy the victory for too long. It was just a stepping-stone.
"This is one step but every girl here is motivated beyond this," Senior Erin Melly said after the Heps victory. "It's all about keeping your head down and doing the work."
Coach Daniel Ireland was also thinking about the team's next goal after the Ivy title win.
"We just have to keep the focus," Ireland said. "If we run the way we have been running, I think we have a really good shot to make it to NCAAs," Ireland said.
The men's squad has not been to NCAA Championships as a team since 2013. The Lions are currently ranked No. 3 in the region and must finish top-2 in the race to get the automatic bid, or have enough points to receive the at-large selection. If the squad does not make it as a team, Coach Ireland is confident individual runners can earn their way to Louisville.
"We want to have representation at NCAA championships every year," he said.
Ivy Champion Ryan Thomas will hope to ride his wave of momentum to a cross country championship for the first time. Junior Brian Zabilski and sophomore Kenny Vasbinder represented the Lions at NCAAs last season and will also be vying for spots.