Pensacola, FL--Twenty-four teams and 187 runners competed in Saturday's NCAA Division II Women's Cross Country National Championship Meet at the Escambia County Equestrian Center in Pensacola, Fla. Among the competitors was Lees-McRae College Dana Lindholm (Weaverville, NC). The freshman finished 158th with a personal best time of 23:38 over the 6,000 meter course.
"What an experience for a freshman to make the national championships," stated Lees-McRae head coach Craig McPhail. "A year ago she was competing in a state championship, so this is a dream come true for her, our program, our campus and community. We are so proud of her."
This race caps off a stellar season for the North Buncombe High School alumni as she led the Bobcats this season with a personal best 5k time of 19:38 at the Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference Championship meet and finished 2nd in it, good enough to earn her Freshman of the Year honors. Her fourth place finish two weeks ago at the NCAA DII Southeast Regional qualified her for the trip to Florida.
"The training I have gotten this year made a big difference and I had so much fun," Lindholm said. "I just kept getting faster and making it to nationals was such an accomplishment."
The National Championships this year were part of the NCAA Division II Fall Sports Festival as men's and women's cross country, soccer, women's field hockey and volleyball all competed in Pensacola for their respected championships.
In order to be eligible to participate in the championships, teams and individuals had to qualify in their respective NCAA region competitions.
All regions automatically qualified two teams of seven student-athletes each. Additional berths were awarded to the regions with the first eight team finishers at the 2005 NCAA Division II Women's Cross Country Championships.
All regions automatically qualify the top two individuals from non-qualifying teams. In addition, all individual competitors who finish in the top five overall places in their respective regional meet and are not a member of a qualifying team automatically advance to the championships.