As part of our summer series, we are looking back at the best moments from the 2021-2022 academic year, today featuring WPI cross country as the men's squad and two individual women representatives were selected for the program's first-ever berth to the NCAA Cross Country championships on November 14th, 2021.
Indianapolis, IN --- The WPI cross country program received a double dose of good news on Sunday as the men's team was selected, and Elise Deshusses (Chapel Hill, NC) and Charlotte Kokernak (Niskayuna, NY) from the women's team earned the opportunity to participate in the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships, which will be hosted by Spalding University and the Louisville Sports Commission, this Saturday at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Kentucky.
It marks the first time in school history that the men's team has been tabbed or any women individually have qualified for the national championship meet.
The men were selected as an at-large team from the East Region. All 10 of this Saturday's regional champions earned automatic spots with 22-at large spots available. MIT, ranked third nationally, was the regional automatic representative while #17 Colby, #26 Tufts and #32 Bates join WPI to give the East Regional an eye-popping five teams headed to Louisville.
At the regional meet on Saturday at Franklin Park, Ben Steeves (Hollis, ME) paced a trio of Engineers with top-25 finishes, placing 20th overall in a time of 26:29. Right on his heels was junior Brian Brooks (Brewster, MA), also recording a time of 26:29, taking 21st place while Logan Gaudette (Holden, MA) was also an All-Region honoree, finishing 23rd in a time of 26:35.
David Reynolds (Andover, NH) was next across the line for WPI, taking 41st place in a time of 27:16 and Jarrett Gulden (Walpole, ME) was the final scorer for the Crimson and Gray, placing 50th in a time of 27:39. Ryan Fischer (Merrimack, NH) and Andrew Yatsuhashi (Reading, MA) rounded out the excellent team performance for the Crimson and Gray. Fischer was 51st in a time of 27:46, while Yatsuhashi finished in 28:42 to take 84th in the 234-runner field. Avinash Bissoondial (Millbury, MA) is the team's alternate for the postseason.
For Deshusses and Koknerak, their ticket to Kentucky was punched when the East Region also had four women's at-large teams selected. #14 Tufts earned the automatic spot on Saturday while #11 MIT, #16 Bates, #26 Brandeis and #24 Wellesley earned at-large spots, catapulting the WPI duo into the top seven runners to finish Saturday not on a qualifying team.
Deshusses crossed the finish line in 22nd place with a time of 23:54 to nab an All-Region honor. Koknerak followed with a 26th place showing to also earn All-Region.