JOPLIN, Mo. - The Fort Hays State men's cross country team posted a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Division II Central Region Championships Saturday (Nov. 9). It is the Tigers' best finish at the regional meet since 2006 when the Tigers placed fourth in the South Central Regional in Warrensburg, Mo. Fort Hays State totaled 144 points in the race that featured 27 teams and 192 individuals.

With the strong performance, the Tigers made a firm case for an at large bid into the 2019 NCAA Division II Cross Country National Championships. The top three teams in each of eight regions earn an automatic bid, with 10 more teams being selected from the remainder of the top-finishing teams across the country. FHSU will learn its fate when the full national championship field is announced on Monday (Nov. 11).

Three runners earned All-Region status for the Tigers, with all five scorers finishing in the top 46. Reed Rome finished 19th to earn All-Region honors, completing the 10-kilometer course in 31:21.4. Israel Barco (31:30.5) and Seppe van 't Westende (31:30.8) earned two of the final four spots on the All-Region podium, placing 22nd and 24th, respectively. Justin Moore navigated the course in 31:30.8, good for 33rd place. Robbie Schmidt turned in a time of 32:05.6, finishing 46th.

Host Missouri Southern captured its second consecutive regional title with a team score of 52 points, placing five runners in the top 20. Northwest Missouri State finished second, followed by Augustana in third. MSSU's Gidieon Kimutai won the race for the second year in a row, turning in a time of 29:14.5.

After finishing fourth at the conference championships two weeks ago, the Tigers were the third-highest MIAA finisher Saturday. FHSU comfortably defeated Nebraska-Kearney, Pittsburg State, Central Missouri, Emporia State, Missouri Western, Washburn and Rogers State.

Complete FHSU Results

Place - Name - Time

19 - Reed Rome - 31:21.4

22 - Israel Barco - 31:30.5

24 - Seppe van 't Westende - 31:30.8

33 - Justin Moore - 31:50.5

46 - Robbie Schmidt - 32:05.6

49 - Peter Franklin - 32:15.8

65 - Kaleb Crum - 32:34.9