Louisville, KY --- WPI Men's Cross Country completed the journey to the 2021 NCAA Cross Country Championships alongside Charlotte Kokernak (Niskayuna, NY) and Elise Deshusses (Chapel Hill, NC) representing the women's program on Saturday afternoon at E.P. Tom Sawyer Park.
Graduate student Ben Steeves (Hollis, ME) led the Crimson and Gray pack with a 25:05.2 time in the 8K marking his career-best in the event for 150th at the championships this afternoon. Graduate Logan Gaudette (Holden, MA) followed closely with a career-record time of 25:40.5 today at E.P. Tom Sawyer Park for WPI, who placed 32nd at its first appearance as a team at the NCAA Championships.
Junior Brian Brooks (Brewster, MA) crossed the finish line at 25:44.9, marking his second-best ever mark climbing roughly seven spots in the final five minutes of the race for the Engineers. Sophomore Jarrett Gulden (Walpole, ME) shattered his previous personal best of 26:45.2 from earlier this fall with a 26:05.9 mark in the National Championship meet. Freshman Ryan Fischer (Merrimack, NH) posted his best time of the season and career today after clocking in at 26:28.6 in Louisville.
Junior David Reynolds (Andover, NH) crossed the finish line at 26:47.2 in the final race of the season after posting a trio of top-10 finishes this fall and in the top-50 at the NCAA DIII East Region Championships last week. Senior Andrew Yatsuhashi (Reading, MA) ran a 26:53.6 time finishing just over seven seconds away from his career-best effort posted last week for the Crimson and Gray. Sophomore Avinash Bissoondial (Millbury, MA) received the nod to serve as the men's alternate runner this weekend at the national championship meet.
On the women's side, Deshusses finished at 23:00.1 marking just over her personal-best time of 22:59.9 as an individual representative of the women's program, in addition to, Kokernak who recorded 24:38.5 time in the national championship effort for the Engineers.
"Today's races were not about the final individual or team placement, that will be our focus in future years," stated head coach Brian Chabot. "We first had to get here and that's what Elise, Charlotte, and our men's team did. They were the first in the history of our program to get here and they experience a level of pressure that teams down the road won't have to deal with. The pressure to be the 'first' to ever do it. They established the legacy so others can further it."
The WPI men's cross country program concludes its historic season with five top-five team finishes including a victory at the Wellesley Invitational and fifth-place showing at the NCAA Division East Region Championships. In addition, Deshusses and Kokernak became WPI first representatives at the National Championships today as well.