GAINESVILLE, GA - -The Flagler women's cross country team finished in second place at the NCAA Southeast Region on Saturday morning in Gainesville, Ga., and earned an automatic spot in the National Championship meet next month in Pittsburgh, Pa.
The finish equals the best in the program's history, which was last done in 2013 when the team advanced to the national championships in Spokane, Washington.
"The ladies really stepped up big today," said head coach Brian Beil. "We had the kind of day I have been talking about for the past two months, and we had it on the most important day of the season. We have the potential to be even better. Now we have another chance to do it."
Joining the Saints in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Dec. 1) from the southeast region are Queens University of Charlotte, who topped the 23-team field with 50 points, and Anderson University, which finished third with 129 points.
Three Saints earned all-region honors by finishing in the top 25. Lauren Penkala had the best regional finish for a Flagler women's runner as she finished in fourth place with a 6K time of 22:28.25. This was her second all-region accolade. Heloise Duffie de Tassigny, the Peach Belt Conference Runner of the Year, finished in sixth place with a time of 22:39.46. This was her third all-region honor. Kayla McManamafinished in 23rd place with a time of 23:40.32.
Host North Georgia finished fifth with Breanna Hammond leading with a time of 23:22.8. Columbus State was sixth as Macey Voorhies finished 13thin a time of 22:58.4. Georgia College was seventh as Tessa Allen led the team in 26thplace with a time of 23:45.2.
Leah Hanle of the University of Mount Olive finished atop the 154-woman field with a time of 21:39.36. She finished 11.16 seconds ahead of Domtila Kiplagat of Lenoir-Rhyne University. Both runners qualify for the national championship as individuals.