Thompson becomes third Spartan to earn bid to NCAA Championships 11-12-2011

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Just one day after seeing two of his teammates qualify for the 2011 NCAA Cross Country Championships, Joey Thompson also earned a bid to nationals as an at-large selection on Sunday.

Thompson joins Paul Chelimo and Ashley Schnell as the first runners in school history to make it to the NCAA Championships in cross country. All three runners earned All-Region honors on Saturday.

The top two teams in each region automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships and the top four runners not on those teams also qualified as individuals. Thompson was one of just two at-large selections on the men's side that were picked the by committee.

"I'm very excited that Joey has qualified for the NCAA Championships," said coach Linh Nguyen. "He ran a great race on Saturday and really earned the right to compete at NCAAs. The last 24 or so hours have been a bit anxious for us since Joey ended up as the first person not to qualify this past track season. He has had an amazing season that's been somewhat overshadowed by Paul Chelimo. I think Joey was under the radar and really proved himself at Regionals. It's great to see his hard work pay off in such a big way."

Thompson was the first individual runner who didn't earn an automatic berth after coming in eight place on Saturday in a personal-best time of 30:16.9.

Thompson, Chelimo and Schnell will run on Nov. 21 in Terre Haute, Ind.

- UNCG -

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