BRIDGEWATER, Va. – Bridgewater College senior Olivia Mills and freshman Kaylee Kubisiak qualified last weekend at the regional meet for the NCAA Division III National Cross Country Championship on Saturday in Terre Haute, Ind.
Mills was the first female runner in in Bridgewater history to qualify for Nationals and this will be her third trip to the national meet. Kubisiak joins Mills at the national meet after a tremendous freshman season.
"Olivia has grown a lot the last three years and now comes into the championship as experienced runner at the national level," said head coach Brain Flynn. "Kaylee has been a great asset to the team and I knew she would be from day one. It's very instrumental for Kaylee to gather experience at the National meet at such a young age because I expect her to be very competitive with some of the nation's finest for years to come."
Mills crossed the finish line fourth with a time of 22:31 at the NCAA Division III South/Southeast Regional Championship in Hampton, Ga. last weekend. Kubisiak finished eight seconds behind Mills in fifth place with a time of 22:39. Both Eagles earned All-Region honors for their efforts.
Mills claimed her second straight individual championship and Runner of the Year honor at the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Cross Country Championship in late October. She crossed the finish line with a time of 23:07. Kubisiak was right behind her in second place with a time of 23:17. The Abbottstown, Pa. native earned Rookie of the Year honor, while both earned All-ODAC accolades.
In mid-October, Kubisiak paced the field at the Christopher Newport University Cross Country Invitational taking first place with a time of 22:27. Mills took second place with a time of 22:35.
The Eagles traveled to the University of Minnesota at the end of September to compete against nationally ranked teams to prepare early for the National Championship. Kubisiak was impressive in her first collegiate race, finishing in seventh place with a time of 22:30. Mills came in 18th place with a time of 23:25 to make it into the top 20 finishers.
"Last year Olivia finished 42nd in the nation and was less than 10 seconds from earning All-America honors," said Flynn. "She is very hungry and eager to compete this weekend and I expect her to run her finest race as an Eagle, in her final collegiate race"
Mills and Kubisiak finish the Eagles women's cross country season on Saturday at 12 p.m. at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center.