Boise State's Bates, New Mexico's Silva Claim NCAA Regional Individual Titles

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Boise State junior Emma Bates and New Mexico junior Sammy Silva won NCAA Cross Country Regional individual titles on Nov. 15, two weeks after finishing one-two at the 2013 Mountain West Cross Country Championships on Nov. 1.

By virtue of their individual titles at their respective regionals today, Bates and Silva will compete at the 2013 NCAA National Championships on Nov. 23 in Terra Haute, Ind.

In addition to the individual accomplishments, New Mexico’s eighth-ranked women’s team placed second in the Mountain Regional, earning an automatic bid to the National Championships. It is the sixth straight year the women have qualified for the national meet.

Bates, who won the NCAA Pre-National Invitational (20:09) meet in October, and then cruised to victory in at the 2013 MW Cross Country Championships in 20:48.15, turned in her fastest 6K time of the season at the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex, site of the West Regional meet. She crossed the finish line in 19:11, which was three seconds faster than second-place finisher Shelby Houlihan of Arizona State.

The No. 25 Broncos finished 10th in the team standings, while fellow MW competitors Fresno State (23rd), San Diego State (30th) and UNLV (32nd) also took part in the meet.

Like Bates, Silva faced strong competition at her regional meet, yet was able to hold off Shalaya Kipp of Colorado by two seconds. Silva finished the 6K course at the Riverdale Golf Course in Ogden, Utah, in 20:29.3. Not far behind was teammate Charlotte Arter, who placed third in 20:34.8. New Mexico had four runners, Silva, Arter, Calli Thackery (13th) and Tamara Armoush (18th) finish in the Top-20.

Air Force placed fifth in the team standings, with Nevada (ninth), Colorado State (10th), Utah State (11th) and Wyoming (13th) rounding out the MW teams in the women’s race.

On the men’s side, No. 11 New Mexico, No. 23 Colorado State and No. 29 Air Force all received at-large bids to the national meet. It is the fifth straight year the Lobos have advanced to the National Championships, while the Rams and Falcons are making their first team appearance since 2004. Individually, Boise State’s Jeff Howard and Wyoming's Garrett Zans earned national meet qualifying spots in their respective regional races for finishing in the top-four of competitors not on automatic qualifying teams. Howard’s time of 29:54 was good for seventh overall in the West Regional, while Zans was 14th in the Mountain Regional with a time of 29:50.7.

The Lobos finished third in the Mountain Region team standings, behind Northern Arizona and Colorado. Air Force was fifth, followed by Colorado State in sixth. Wyoming finished eighth, while Utah State was 11th. In the West Regional, Boise State placed fourth, with Fresno State coming in 23rd-place.

Eighteen teams received automatic bids (top two teams in each of the nine regionals) into the National Championships, with 13 additional teams selected by the NCAA to round out the men’s and women’s fields. Individually, 38 men and 38 women (top four per region) who were not on an advancing team earned automatic bids; however, only if they posted a Top-25 regional finish. Once all of the automatic bids were set, two individuals from across each region were selected as at-large competitors for both the men’s and women’s races.