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Cross Country News

Point Park runners prepare for NAIA Cross Country National Championship

Nov. 21, 2014 at 3:30 p.m. ET

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Point Park's NAIA national qualifiers (L to R): Katie Guarnaccia, Ashley Czerniewski-Hagan, Kelsey Wilkins and Eric Torres at Rim Rock Farms in Lawrence, Kan., for the NAIA Cross Country Naitonal Championship Meet Nov. 22.

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Individual, national qualifiers from the Point Park University men's and women's cross country teams are in Lawrence, Kan., preparing for the NAIA Cross Country National Championship Nov. 22 at Rim Rock Farms.

Three members of the Point Park women's cross country team -- Katie Guarnaccia, Kelsey Wilkins and Ashley Czerniewski-Hagan -- join Eric Torres of the Pioneers' men's team as NAIA individual qualifiers based of their high placement at the KIAC Cross Country Championships hosted by Point Park Nov. 8 in Schenley Park.

The Point Park women's trio -- which is the most individuals that Point Park has sent to nationals in a single year -- will compete in the NAIA women's 5K championship meet  on Nov. 22 at 10:30 a.m. CT. Torres will compete in the NAIA men's 8K championship meet at 11:45 a.m. CT.

The Point Park men's and women's teams are represented at the NAIA National Championship Meet for the third year in a row. All of the Pioneers' NAIA participants are competing at the national meet for the first time in their careers, and none of them is older than a sophomore.

Guarnaccia is a freshman from North Allegheny High School who finished second in the KIAC Meet, just ahead of teammate Kelsey Wilkins, a sophomore from Central Valley High School, who finished third. Czerniewski-Hagan, from Baldwin High School, placed sixth at the KIAC Meet to nab the final individual qualification spot to nationals.

The Point Park women's team placed second to Asbury (Ky.) in the KIAC Meet team standings to fall short of the entire team qualify for NAIAs.

The Point Park men's team was fifth of eight teams at the KIAC Meet, but Torres, placed second individually to grab one of the four indiividual qualification spots to NAIAs. Torres is a freshman from Robstown, Texas.

Each of the Pioneers' runners will look to end their season on a high note at the NAIA Meet by establishing personal-best times or setting school records.

Guarnaccia and Wilkins share the Point Park women's 5K school record at 19:24, which happened at the KIAC Meet. Czerniewski-Hagan set a career-best time of 20:04 at the KIAC Meet and is looking to break 20 minutes for the first time.

Torres' best 8K race this year was a time of 26:02 at Lock Haven, which was just one second off the Point Park men's 8K school record of 26:01 held by Andrew Rowland.

In the NAIA women's 5K, there are 37 teams and 84 individuals competing. In the men's 8K, there are 36 teams and 76 individuals.

Follow the NAIA Cross Country National Championship Meet on Twitter with hashtag #NAIAXC. Live video coverage of the pre-race banquet ceremony Nov. 21 as well as the post-race award ceremony Nov. 22 is available on NAIAnetwork.com