JACKSON, Tenn. - 11/16/2010 - The Union (Tenn.) University men’s and women’s cross country teams are getting set to make the long trip to Vancouver, Washington for the 2010 NAIA Cross Country National Championships on Saturday, Nov. 20. The Union teams earned automatic bids to the nationals after both took first place in the qualifying meet on Nov. 5 in Nashville.
“We are excited about making it to nationals and representing Union on a national level”, says head coach Gary Johnson. “Our student-athletes enjoy the role of representing our school when we travel, and this is a special opportunity for us to compete at the highest level in the NAIA.”
For the Union women, this will be the 10th straight season that the team or at least one individual has qualified for the national meet. Since the program’s beginning in 1999, Union has sent four women’s teams and eight individuals to the national meet. Their highest team finish was 25th place in 2006, while the highest Union individual was Sylvia Bundotich’s 13th place finish in 2007.
The Union men have now be represented by a team or individual in eight straight NAIA National Meets. Union has sent three teams and 11 individuals to nationals. Their highest team finish was an eighth place finish in 2007, while Henry Rop posted the highest individual finish of fifth place during the same year.
Johnson says, “One thing I try to encourage our student-athletes with is to not expect to make nationals, but to cherish the opportunity, because we do not always make it and are not guaranteed to make it back. This group seems especially happy to have made it and are challenged to finish higher than previous teams who qualified. It would be great if we could get both teams into the top 25 of the 32 to teams who made it.”
Union captured the 2010 TranSouth Conference Titles this season. It was the eighth straight conference title for the women and the seventh straight conference title for the men.
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