CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Grace Barnett qualified for her first NCAA Championship on Friday afternoon, leading the Tigers to a 12th place finish at the NCAA Southeast Regional. The men’s season concludes with their 23rd place finish at the regional, led by Clayton Wilson.
“It’s amazing to think back on where Grace started her Clemson career and see how she’s progressed to this point,” said head coach Mark Elliott. “She’s having a great season, and all of the credit goes to her work ethic and the job Coach Porter has done.”
Barnett missed the podium by just 1.1-seconds, crossing the finish line at 20:27.7 to take fourth place overall. She is Clemson women’s cross country’s first NCAA Championship qualifier since 2011 when Alyssa Kulik took eighth place in the regional meet. It’s the highest finish by a woman Tiger since 1990 when Anne Evans claimed silver.
“She ran a well-executed race to do what was needed to advance to her first cross country national championship,” said distance coach Michael Porter. “She’s helping to raise the standard for our program.”
“I’m proud of how far she’s come over the years and I’m excited to see how much more she will continue to grow.”
Not far off from Barnett was freshman standout, Logan Morris in 32nd place with a time of 21:22.3. Less than a second later, Jenna Gearing crossed the finish line at 22:00.2 to take 64th overall with Morgan Wittrock and Evie Tate capping off the top five for Clemson in 86th and 138th place respectively.
Wilson led the men for the first time in 2016 with his 88th place finish and a time of 31:28.0 in the 10K. A pair of sophomores followed Wilson as Micah Williams wasn’t far behind in 95th place, crossing the finish line at 31:36.7 and Jacob Slann finished 117th at 32:01.3. It was the first race this season, a Tiger other than Williams turned in the men’s top time of the meet. Freshmen Andrew Emery and Malik Epps rounded out the top five for the men taking 179th and 181st respectively.
Barnett will be Clemson’s lone competitor at the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Indiana on Saturday, November 19.
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