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NCAA Midwest Regional Await Golden Hurricane

Tulsa will compete at the NCAA Midwest Regional
Tulsa will compete at the NCAA Midwest Regional
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Nov. 10, 2011

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TULSA, Okla. - The University of Tulsa cross country teams will travel to DeKalb, Ill., Nov. 12 for the NCAA Midwest Regional. The No. 27-ranked men will be up first, and their 10K will begin at 12 p.m. CST, while the women's 6K will start at 1:15 p.m.

The race is being hosted by Northern Illinois University and will take place at NIU North 40, home to the Northern Illinois Huskies' cross country team.

The men's race will feature four ranked teams, highlighted by the two-time defending national champions and second-ranked Oklahoma State. Other ranked teams will be No. 5 Oklahoma (last year's regional champs), No. 18 Minnesota and No. 27 Tulsa.

The women's race features No. 10 Iowa State (last year's regional champs), No. 23 Oklahoma State and No. 20 Minnesota (regional champs three of the last four years).

All teams competing will be searching for a top-two finish and a coveted automatic bid to the NCAA National Championships Nov. 21 in Terre Haute, Ind. Thirty one teams from nine regions will make up the field for the final race of the season.

The top two teams from each region earn an automatic bid, while the final 13 slots will be determined based on an at-large process that will occur following the completion of all nine regional championships.

The top four individuals from a non-qualifying team will also receive an automatic bid to the NCAA National Championship.

The Golden Hurricane men captured their second-straight Conference USA Championship and their third in the last four years on October 31 in Houston. Tulsa outlasted second-place UTEP by a score of 35-48, while Houston finished third with 71 points and Rice (108) and Marshall (133) rounded out the top five. Senior Carl Stones paced the men with a fourth-place finish in 24:01.5. Freshman Andrew Heyes (24:02.6) was right behind in fifth, and junior Geraint Davis (7th - 24:10.0), senior Tom Marshall (9th - 24:13.3) and senior Paulo Pinheiro (10th - 24:15.6) rounded out the team score. Tulsa had six runners in the top 11 and all nine TU runners landed on all-conference teams. The women fell two points shy of winning back-to-back crowns, as they took second to SMU by a score of 57-59. Senior Paula Whiting finished third in 16:43.6, and junior Ashley Scott was eighth in 17:33.5. Junior Jaclyn Rollins (11th - 17:37.0), sophomore Josie Wilcox (18th - 17:59.5) and redshirt freshman Lauren Collette (19th - 18:00.0) rounded out the team score. All five runners made all-conference teams, and Collette was named the C-USA Freshman of the Year.

The TU men's cross country team had a stellar showing at NCAA Pre-Nationals October 16. The team finished sixth out of 35 teams in the 8K event with 197 points and took down No. 7 Indiana in the process. The Hoosiers placed eighth with 259 points. Tulsa also defeated No. 41 Virginia Tech as the Hokies placed ninth with 322 points. Senior Paulo Pinheiro paced the Golden Hurricane with his 30th-place finish. He crossed the line in 24:49. The women finished 10th out of 40 teams, ending the 6K event with 336 points. Senior Paula Whiting paced the women with an 11th-place finish, as she crossed the line in 20:59.

The Tulsa women placed fifth out of 20 teams, and the TU men placed sixth out of 29 teams at the OSU Jamboree in Stillwater Oct. 1. Both teams had strong showings at the event, and the men were paced by senior Paulo Pinheiro's 18th-place finish. He crossed the line in 24:33.91 in the 8K event. Senior Paula Whiting led the women with her 13th-place finish. She clocked a time of 17:46.13 in the 5K event. Junior Ashley Scott also recorded a top-20 finish as she placed 18th in 17:58.54.

Tulsa competed in a duel against Oral Roberts Sept. 24 and utilized a team of youngsters. The men defeated the Golden Eagles by a score of 19-38, while the women were narrowly edged by ORU's A team 27-29. Freshman Aaron Thornburg paced the men, winning the 5K event in a time of 16:36.58. TU had five of the top six finishers. Freshman Larissa Erickson finished second overall and was tops on the women's team in a time of 11:39.60. Fellow freshman Lauren Collette was third in 11:40.21.

The Golden Hurricane competed in a duel against Houston after the Missouri Southern Stampede was rained out. The men dropped the Cougars 23-38, and the women won by a score of 16-47. Senior Paulo Pinheiro won the four-mile event with a career-best time of 19:05. Tulsa took eight of the top 10 positions. The women recorded the top four finishers and had seven of the top 10. Senior Paula Whiting won the event with a personal-best time of 10:49. She narrowly defeated freshman teammate Natasha Cockram, who also clocked in at 10:49.

Paula Whiting kicked off her senior campaign with a dominating effort at the season-opening Hurricane Festival Sept. 3. She won the two-mile event by 23 seconds in a personal-best time of 10:55. Junior Sarah Macpherson placed fourth in a career-best 11:21. Freshmen Natasha Cockram and Janessa Dunn crossed the line next for TU in seventh and ninth, respectively. Redshirt freshman Lauren Collette placed 13th and true freshman Larissa Erickson placed 17th. The TU women finished 4-1 in the duels. The men used an experience group and finished 1-2 in the duels. Freshman Tim Rackers paced TU with his seventh-place finish. Sophomore James Keilbarth, redshirt freshman Brian Tabb and sophomore Austin Cookson finished in 11th, 12th and 13th, respectively. Freshman Aaron Thornburg placed 15th in 21:42 to round out the team scoring. Junior Derek Eidt placed 20th in 22:11 and redshirt freshman Seth Marsh was 21st in 22:12.

The Tulsa men vaulted into the USTFCCCA national cross country coaches' poll after their performance at NCAA Pre-Nationals. The men checked in at No. 27 after receiving votes the week prior. The women had been receiving votes all year, but they fell out of the national polls for the first time this season.

The Tulsa men currently sit at the No. 4 spot in the most recent USTFCCCA Midwest Region polls released October 25. The Golden Hurricane is ranked behind Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Minnesota. The women are currently slotted at No. 12 in the Midwest Region.

The Tulsa men have 27 runners this year, and coach Steve Gulley is sporting his largest roster for the second-straight year (the team had 26 runners in 2010). The five seniors on the 2011 squad are Brad Harris, Tom Marshall, Bill Martin, Paulo Pinheiro and Carl Stones. There are also six juniors, six sophomores and 10 freshmen.

WOMEN REACH NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP FOR FIRST TIME IN 2010 The Tulsa women competed as a team at the NCAA Championship for the first time in program history a year ago, finishing the competition as the 30th-best team in the nation. The women who competed were senior Paula Whiting, juniors Jaclyn Rollins, Ashley Scott and Erin Huddleston, sophomore Josie Wilcox and former TU student-athletes Melanie Cleland and Jacqueline Fairchild.

WOMEN FINISH FOURTH AT NCAA MIDWEST REGIONAL, MEN PLACE SIXTH IN 2010 The TU women finished fourth at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship in Peoria, Ill., last year. This was the highest finish in school history. Senior Paula Whiting finished third individually, which tied for the best finish in school history at the event. The men's sixth-place finish was the third-lowest regional finish in school history, and the team has finished in the top eight at Regionals in each of the last five years. All seven men who ran at Regionals posted their personal-best times in the 10K.