HU runners G. Spahr, Herber earn trip to NAIA national XC meets

The NAIA national office announced Monday, Nov. 11, the team and individual qualifiers for the 2013 NAIA Cross Country National Championships, and among the list of individual qualifiers are Huntington University junior Gretchen Spahr and sophomore Tyler Herber.

Spahr is one of 103 individuals, representing 63 institutions, who will compete at the NAIA Women's Cross Country National Championship on Nov. 23 at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, KS. Her selection to participate was based on her seventh place finish at the Crossroads League Championships on Saturday, Nov. 9.

This will be Spahr's third trip to nationals in as many years. As a freshman, the Huntington native qualified as an individual and ran a 19:43 to finish 67th out of 323 runners. As last year's Crossroads League Champions, the Foresters earned an automatic bid to the national championship, where the team finished 20th overall led by Spahr's 47th place finish in 19:09.

Defending national champion British Columbia, which has been ranked No. 1 throughout the 2013 season, headlines the 32-team women's field made up of 21 conference, independent and unaffiliated grouping champions; two conference, independent and unaffiliated grouping runners-up and nine at-large selections.

Herber will represent Huntington in the men's race. He will be one of 97 individuals, representing 64 institutions. Like Spahr, the Fremont native finished seventh at the conference meet this past weekend to punch his ticket to nationals. It will mark his first appearance on the national stage.

Defending national runner-up No. 1 Southern Oregon and defending national champion No. 3 St. Francis (IL) headline the 32-team men's field made up of 21 conference, independent and unaffiliated grouping champions; one conference, independent and unaffiliated grouping runners- up and 10 at-large selections.

The men's 8K race will begin at 10:30 a.m. Central Standard Time with the women's 5K to follow at 11:45 a.m. CST.