LEBANON, Tenn. – Cumberland runners Joel Barlow and Cornelius Kipchumba for the men and Amber Mays, Taylor Blankenship and Abby Gawthorp for the women earned at-large berth into the NAIA Cross Country Championships, as announced late Wednesday by the national office.
The top individuals in each conference championship meet who are not members of the winning team (which receives an automatic berth into the national championships) and are not members of any team from the league that receives an at-large bid qualify for the national meet.
Shawnee State won both the men’s and women’s team titles at the Mid-South Conference Championships and Campbellsville University received an at-large bid as a team on the men’s side.
Barlow placed eighth and Kipchumba finished 12th for the Phoenix men this past Saturday at Phil Moore Park in Bowling Green, Ky., with the duo earning at-large berths in the national championships set for November 16 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. They will be the first male cross country runners to compete in the national meet for the Phoenix.
For the women, Mays, Blankenship and Gawthorp all finished in the Top 7, garnering three of the four at-large berths from the conference. It marks the second straight trip to the national championships for Blankenship and the first for Mays and Gawthorp. Blankenship was the first female Cumberland harrier to qualify for the national meet last season.