Senior Qualifies for NCAA Championships

Nov. 17, 2008


Senior Paul Limpf of the Eastern Washington University men’s cross county team has been selected to compete at the NCAA Division I Championships next Monday (Nov. 24) in Terre Haute, Ind.

A 2005 graduate of Evergreen High School in Vancouver, Wash., Limpf will be the second male to compete for Eastern in five years. He received an at-large berth after placing 11th at last Saturday’s West Regionals.

"It’s a long process," said Limpf on his wait to hear if he made it to championships. "But as soon as I found out from (head cross country) coach Chris Zeller, it was probably the best phone call that I have ever received in my life. He told me Portland was in, seven teams from the west region were in and congratulations, you’re in."

This is Limpf’s first appearance at the NCAA Championships. The men’s and women’s championship races will be broadcast live on CBS College Sports Network and streamed online via The men’s race will take place at 9:48 a.m. Pacific time on a 10,000-meter course.

His goal is to be in the top 40 and to earn All-America status.

"I honestly think that is a realistic goal of something that he should be able to achieve," said Zeller. "I think he has done the work and has the confidence to do that."

Limpf is Eastern’s second male to compete at the championships. The only other male to compete was Brandon Fuller, who finished 132nd with a time of 31:05.8 in 2003.

Three females have also advanced to the NCAA Championships. In 2007, Mattie Bridgmon made her first appearance and finished 34th. Amber Johnson competed in 1999, placing 64th. And Kari McKay made two appearances as she finished 69th in 1990 and 64th in 1991.

A total of 31 teams were selected to participate in each championship. The top two seven-person teams automatically qualified from each of the nine regions, for a total of 18 teams. Thirteen additional teams were selected at-large.

A total of 38 individuals were selected to participate in each championship through an automatic qualifier and at-large selection process. All individual qualifiers finished in the top 25 in their region.

Seven West Region teams qualified for the championships. Oregon and Stanford finished 1-2, respectively, at the West Regional Championships to earn the automatic berths. The five men’s at-large teams were Cal Poly, California, Portland, UCLA and Washington.

"I was pretty sure I was in because I knew that Portland was the third-place team and (seeing if it would receive an at-large berth) is what I had to wait on," said Limpf. "I was pretty sure but you still have to wait until it was officially out. Last night when I got the phone call, that is when I was jumping up and down."

Limpf finished 11th at the NCAA West Regionals on the 10,000-meter course with a time of 29:17.47. Last year, he was 45th at regionals with a time of 31:17.40 and was 53rd as a sophomore in 2006 with a time of 31:49.91.

"The longer the race the better that is for Paul," said Zeller. "This just shows how strong and fit he is right now. That will give him a lot of confidence going into nationals and also down the road in track."

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