Nov. 18, 2011
NCAA Championships Central
LOS ANGELES - Tara Erdmann's illustrious collegiate cross-country career comes to an end this Monday at the NCAA Cross Country National Championships. The red-shirt senior will enter her final race in LMU's colors against the nation's best college runners as she competes in her seventh national championship meet.
This Week: NCAA Cross Country Women's National Championship
Location: Gibson Championship Course, Terre Haute, Ind.
Date: Monday, Nov. 21
Time: 9:58 a.m. (PT) / 12:58 p.m. (ET)
Watch: Streamed online at NCAA.com
LAST YEAR'S RESULT: Erdmann - 25th overall of 253 competitors
Last year at the National Championships, the Tucson, Ariz. native finished with a time of 20:39.9 on the 6k Gibson Championship Course to earn her second All-American honor and became LMU's first NCAA Cross Country All-American. Conditions for last year's Championship were different than Tara's previous runs in Indiana, as she had to contend with strong winds. Erdmann stated, "The first 400 meters of the start and the last 400 meters of the finish were straight into this gusting head wind, so it added a different element to the race." Local forecasts are predicting a 30 percent chance of rain, so the weather may be a factor again this year.
Despite the conditions, LMU Cross Country and Track Head Coach Scott Guerrero said, "Tara really ran a fantastic race." She finished with the third best time of runners from the West region, ahead of strong competition who also received at-large bids to the Championship.
The five-time All-American has had a remarkable, record-breaking year that has seen her finish no lower than 3rd overall in any competition. She started her season at the UC Riverside Invitational with a course-record setting time of 20:01.9 to lead the Lions to a team victory. She followed up her performance in Riverside with a third place finish at the Stanford Invitational, running with many competitors she will face at the National Championship.
Tara's previous trip to Indiana this season for the NCAA Pre-National Invitational also saw her finish 3rd overall. With a time of 20:41, Erdmann trailed the meet's winner Risper Kimaiyo of UTEP by a mere four seconds. Her time was the best from any competitor from the West region.
Tara followed the NCAA Pre-Nationals with a record setting day at the West Coast Conference Championship. Erdmann ran a 20:01 to break the course record in Crystal Springs, Calif. and became the first person in conference history to win three individual titles. Tara broke the course record she set in 2010 by 20 seconds, finishing 22 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor. She finished her WCC career with three individual titles, four All-WCC honors, and was named to the WCC All-Academic team as well.
Erdmann qualified for the National Championships by running a personal-best 19:53 at the West Regionals in Stanford, Calif. It was her first sub-20 finish in a 6k race. She finished only nine seconds behind overall winner Jordan Hasay of Oregon, and two seconds behind Deborah Maier of California. Tara will be in the same field with Hasay and Maier on Monday.
The NCAA National Championships will be held at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country course at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center. The event will be hosted by Indiana State University, who also host the NCAA Pre-National Invitational at the same site. The course is located just outside of Terre Haute, Ind. and is noted as one of the most spectator friendly distance running courses in the world. For more information about the course, click here.
The nation's best collegiate runners will be in Indiana for the Championships. The women's field will include fellow WCC runners from BYU who qualified as an at-large team from the Mountain Region, Pac-12 champions Colorado, the West Regional champs Washington, and the defending national champions Villanova.
Tara will face two of the best runners in the nation whom she faced earlier this season. Erdmann finished four seconds behind UTEP's Kimaiyo at the Pre-Nationals, and nine seconds behind Hasay of Oregon at the West Regionals. With a great run in Indiana on Monday, Tara has a chance to conclude her collegiate cross-country career with another All-American honor and possibly more.
FOLLOW THE MEET
The NCAA Cross Country Women's National Championship will be streamed online at ncaa.com.
Check out twitter.com/LMULions and facebook.com/LMULions for updates of the race and check back at LMULions.com for a recap and video after the race. Good luck Tara!!