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Four Canadian runners victorious at NCAA Regionals

These athletes will compete for the NCAA championship next weekend

Canadian Cross-Country Championships

Canadian distance running has a bright future as four Canadian collegiate athletes who run south of the border were victorious at their respective NCAA regional meets. Canada’s Kieran Lumb, Ceili McCabe, Ehab El-Sandali and Taryn O’Neill all won their regional meets to secure a spot at the NCAA championship next weekend in Tallahassee, Fla.

These Canadian runners join an elite company of past winners at NCAA regionals, including top distance athletes Moh Ahmed and Justyn Knight.

There are nine regional championships in the NCAA, which all take place after conference championships. Regionals serve as a qualifier for the NCAA Cross-Country Championship, and this is the first time in a while that Canada has four Canadian athletes with a shot at the title.

14 Canadians post top-10 results at NCAA conference championships

Vancouver’s McCabe, who runs for West Virginia University, has not lost a race all season. She was dominant again at Friday’s Mid-Atlantic Regional meet, winning the women’s 6K race in 20:05. 

Photo: West Virginia Athletics

El-Sandali, who is from Toronto, runs for Iona University and is one of the most experienced cross-country runners in the NCAA, representing Team Canada at the World Cross Country Championships in 2019. El-Sandali won the northeast regional men’s 10K race in 30:02 and will be a name to watch next weekend in his final university race. 

Kieran Lumb

Lumb of Vancouver (UBC) is the reigning U Sports cross-country champion from 2019, but in 2020, he transferred to the University of Washington for a post-graduate program. He has raced at the highest level, including competing on the Diamond League circuit earlier this summer. At the NCAA West Regional, he took down one of the favourites, Cooper Teare of Oregon, who was fourth in the 5,000m at the U.S. Olympic Trials. Lumb won the 10K West Regional in 29:28.

O’Neill runs for Northern Arizona University and hails from Kelowna, B.C. She followed up her Big Sky conference win with another victory at the Mountain Regional meet. She covered the 6K distance in 20:17, slightly ahead of fellow Canadian runner for New Mexico State, Gracelyn Larkin, who is from Rosseau, Ont. Larkin finished fourth, in 20:22. 

Taryn O’Neill is running her first NCAA Championship for NAU

These four runners will be names to watch on Nov. 20 at the DI championship. The last Canadian to win the NCAA XC championship was Knight, with Syracuse University, in 2018.