The ETSU men’s and women’s cross country teams came up short at the NCAA South Regional Tournament on Nov. 13, preventing them from qualifying for Saturday’s NCAA Cross Country Championship.

To reach the NCAA Championship, the men’s and women’s teams would have had to finish in the top two in the region. The men’s team finished 16th at the regional tournament, while the women’s team finished 26th.

George Watts, director of cross country, said he is very happy with what he saw in the seven regular-season meets this season.WattsGeorge1135b

“We prepare all season to sharpen up throughout the season,” Watts said.

The Bucs have many things to look forward to in the future. The men’s team only had one senior on the roster, and the women’s team did not have any, so the Bucs expect to see growth in the coming years.

Before competing in the NCAA regional tournament, the Bucs participated in the Southern Conference Championship on Oct. 31.

“Our goals for the SoCon tournament were for the men to finish top two and women to finish top three,  as well as improve individual times,” Watts said.

Both the men’s and women’s teams fell just short of their goals, with the men finishing third and the women finishing  fourth.

Several Bucs gave good performances throughout the season. Sydney Roberts had been in the top three and was named all conference for the women’s team. For the men, James Garst made all conference and was named the top freshman in the conference.

For the Bucs, improvement was a key factor in working toward their goals.  Damien Samfield made a lot of progress, but injuries kept him out of the SoCon tournament.  Victoria Huchington, a junior, was two places away from making all conference.

The Bucs showed a lot of promise coming out of the SoCon tournament, and both teams gained a lot of experience for the future.

Many cross country runners will jump right into track and field, so they will stay conditioned. This time next season, the cross country teams hope to be running in the NCAA Championship.