Nuggets 1 of 36 teams announced as NAIA qualifiers in cross country

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NEW ORLEANS — Nearly three weeks ago, Xavier University of Louisiana became the first women’s cross country team to qualify for the 2017 NAIA National Championships. The remainder of the qualifiers were decided Friday and Saturday, and on Monday the NAIA announced the complete list of 36 team qualifiers and 92 additional individuals.

XULA qualified by winning the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference championship, its 11th in a row. The Gold Nuggets will travel to Vancouver, Wash., a suburb of Portland, Ore., for the national meet Nov. 18 at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. The women’s 5,000-meter race will start at 11:30 a.m. PST (1:30 p.m. New Orleans time).

XULA was one of five teams from the South to qualify. The others were Blue Mountain, Milligan, Southeastern (Fla.) and SCAD Atlanta. Three from the Southwest qualified: Oklahoma City, Our Lady of the Lake and Wayland Baptist.

The other qualifying teams consist of one from the East, 17 from the Midwest and 10 from the West.

This will be the Gold Nuggets’ 11th appearance at nationals and the eighth for the team. Seven of the last 10 XULA teams qualified.

The Gold Nuggets’ roster consists of juniors Carlie Calais, Chinyere Jones, Brianna Pace and Maliya Vaughan, sophomore Taylor Price and freshman Hajjia Mohammed. Vaughan was the GCAC individual champion.

Top teams in the women’s field will include top-ranked Oklahoma City and second-ranked and defending champion British Columbia, which won four of the last five national titles. Ten of last season’s top 12 national team finishers qualified.

Representing XULA in the men’s national championship — same date and venue as the women’s — will be an individual qualifier, freshman Camren Sewell. The men’s 8K race will begin at 10:30 a.m. PST.

NAIA Women’s Cross Country Teams Qualified for Nationals

Arizona (1) — Embry-Riddle
British Columbia (1) — British Columbia
California (1) — The Master’s
Florida (1) — Southeastern
Georgia (1) — SCAD Atlanta
Idaho (2) — College of Idaho, Lewis-Clark State
Illinois (1) — St. Francis
Indiana (2) — Indiana Wesleyan, Taylor
Iowa (3) — Dordt, Northwestern, St. Ambrose
Kansas (3) — MidAmerica Nazarene, Southwestern, Saint Mary
Louisiana (1) — XULA
Michigan (2) — Aquinas, Madonna
Mississippi (1) — Blue Mountain
Missouri (3) — Columbia, Missouri Baptist, Missouri Valley
Montana (1) — Carroll
North Dakota (1) — Dickinson State
Ohio (2) — Ohio Christian, Shawnee State
Oklahoma City (1) — Oklahoma City
Oregon (3) — Corban, Oregon Tech, Southern Oregon
Pennsylvania (1) — Point Park
Tennessee (1) — Milligan
Texas (2) — Our Lady of the Lake, Wayland Baptist
Washington (1) — Northwest

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