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Courtesy: Dean Hare
Hannah Kiser
Kiser advances to NCAAs
Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations
          Release: 11/13/2011
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MOSCOW, Idaho – Hannah Kiser’s outstanding sophomore season will continue.

The University of Idaho sophomore from Wenatchee, Wash. (Wenatchee HS) earned an individual at-large bid to the 2011 NCAA Cross Country Championships, announced Sunday. She learned her fate following her 18th-place finish at Saturday’s NCAA West Region Championship. She will be Idaho’s first NCAA Cross Country Championship participant since 2004.

“It’s an amazing accomplishment for our program, and Hannah has worked so hard for this,” Idaho director of track and field/cross country Wayne Phipps said. “She really deserves this chance to compete at the highest level.”

Already this season, Kiser claimed the individual title at Oregon’s Dellinger Invitational and the Santa Clara Bronco Invitational, and was the top collegiate runner at both the Sundodger Invitational and Inland Northwest Cross Country Classic.

She earned First-Team All-WAC honors with a second-place finish at the WAC Championships, despite battling heat illness throughout the race, and last weekend, earned her first career All-Region honor from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

“She’s taken some big steps from being competitive in cross country to being a conference champion in track, then making it to the NCAA first round last year in track,” Phipps said. “I think the confidence she gained from last year in track has definitely carried over to this season.”

The meet, which takes place Monday, Nov. 21, at Terre Haute, Ind., will be Kiser’s second career NCAA foray. She was a qualifier last year as a true freshman in the 5000m during the outdoor track and field season, and finished 32nd in the first round.

The last time Idaho was represented at the NCAA Cross Country Championships was in 2004, when the women’s team, led by Letiwe Marakurwa and Mary Kamau, earned an at-large bid and earned the first top-25 finish in program history.

“Cross country, percentage-wise of total competitors, is the toughest sport to make it to NCAAs,” Phipps said. “We’ve had some people get close, but it’s very exciting for our program, and hopefully we can take some more steps forward and get a team there or some more individuals.”

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