Hayes, Ramirez punch tickets to NCAA Championships

Hayes, Ramirez punch tickets to NCAA Championships

SALEM, Ore. — Bryan Hayes and Andrea Ramirez each notched top-15 individual finishes and the men's cross country team finished eighth at the NCAA Division III West Regional Championships on Saturday.

By virtue of finishing top-seven among runners not on automatic qualifying teams, both Hayes and Ramirez earned individual berths to the NCAA National Championship race next weekend. Top two teams receive automatic bids.

Hayes finished the eight-kilometer course in 25 minutes, 59.59 seconds among a field of 151 runners.

"Despite missing quite a bit of training due to injuries this year, Bryan still found a way to get his third-straight national meet birth," La Verne head coach Bryan George said. "That speaks to his grit and determination. Anything can happen at the national meet, so we'll aim high."

Hayes will look to improve on his program-best 67th-place finish at last year's national championships.

Ramirez was the lone La Verne runner on the women's side and the senior continued her breakout season, finishing 14th overall with a time of 22:51.07.

"Andrea's breakthrough season continued today," George said. "She wasn't feeling her absolute best, but still safely advanced to nationals. … The biggest part of having success at this level is being mentally tough and that has been one of her biggest strengths this year."

Top 35 finishers for each gender earn All-Region honors and Tanner Long also received the award with a 21st-place finish (26:15.91) along with Hayes and Ramirez.

"Tanner also deserves a mention," George said. "He earned his second straight All-Region award and had the leaders in his sight the whole time. He's ready to make the next step."

Jayden Earlywine finished 55th (27:08.2), David Sincock came in 69th (27:22.0) and Ted Breslow crossed the line 81st (27:40.7) to round out the men's team scoring.

"The men ran another smart race," George said. "The conditions were cold and muddy and just like at the SCIAC Championships, their patience in the early miles paid off. This will be a great springboard into the 2015 season."

The NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships, hosted by Wilmington, will take place next Saturday in Mason, Ohio.

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