Gibson helps Lady Owls earn at-large bid to NAIA National Cross Country meet

By Will Johnson, Sports Editor
Posted 11/17/21

On the outside looking in.

That was nearly the case for former Owensville Dutchgirl cross country runner Mekayla Gibson.

Placing ninth back on Friday, Nov. 5 at the American Midwest Conference …

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Gibson helps Lady Owls earn at-large bid to NAIA National Cross Country meet

Posted

On the outside looking in.

That was nearly the case for former Owensville Dutchgirl cross country runner Mekayla Gibson.

Placing ninth back on Friday, Nov. 5 at the American Midwest Conference (AMC) Cross Country Championships, Gibson earned All-AMC honors for her top-10 finish in the women’s race.

Being the fourth runner to finish for William Woods University’s (WWU) Lady Owls, Gibson and the rest of her teammates had to wait until last Tuesday to see if they would earn an at-large bid to this Friday’s National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Cross Country Championships in Vancouver, Wash.

As it turned out, WWU earned the bid by finishing in the top-30 of the final Coaches’ Top-25 poll among meeting other requirements.

With 41 votes the Lady Owls were ranked 29th overall.

“Mekayla worked extremely hard this year to be one of our staple runners,” WWU Women’s head cross country coach Dan Schwab said.

Finishing with times in the 19-minute range, Gibson earned high praise from her coach.

“She has consistently competed and posted times in the low-19’s all year long and was a runner I could rely on always,” Schwab said.

Gibson’s fastest time of the season thus far came over Labor Day weekend at the Corridor XC Clash in Cedar Rapids, Iowa with a fourth-place time of 19:04.9.

Her next highest finish came back on Saturday, Sept. 18 in the Larry Young Invitational at Columbia’s Gans Creek Cross Country Course.

Placing fifth in 19:28.7, Gibson helped the Lady Owls win the Corridor XC Clash before they placed third out of 17 teams in Columbia.

Mekayla and her Lady Owl teammates will be among 36 team and 88 individual qualifiers racing at the NAIA Women’s Cross Country National Championships at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in Vancouver, Wash., at 9:30 a.m., central standard time.

This will mark the second consecutive year that the Lady Owls have qualified for nationals as a team.

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