Senior Jorge Villanueva may have earned a spot in the field at the NCAA Division III Championships after finishing 29th in the Midwest Regional on Saturday. He led the Lake Forest College men to a 14th-place finish, the best in program history, while the women were 30th.
Villanueva's time of 25:27.8 on the 8-kilometer course at Whitetail Golf Course in Colfax, Wisconsin, ranks third in program history and his place in the 253-runner field is easily the best in team annals. The top seven finishers in the race who are not an a team selected to participate in the national meet will qualify for the NCAA Championships as individuals and Villanueva will be one of the seven from the Midwest if at least six teams from the region are chosen to advance.
Fellow Forester senior Christian Aldana finished 60th on Saturday with a season-best time of 26:04.9, the ninth-fastest time in school history. Junior Philip Wilson was next on the team and 81st overall in 26:25.4, which also cracks the program's top-25 list. Senior Alphonse Wilson was 114th in 27:02.3 and freshman Christian Reyes placed 165th with a time of 28:00.8.
Prior to Saturday's performance the best regional finish in the men's team's history was 18th, which the Foresters achieved each of the last four years. Defending national champion North Central College won this year's regional with just 30 points, 44 fewer than runner-up University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Lake Forest's 449 points were good for 14th place out of 35 teams.
As she was in every other race this season, sophomore Yaneli Guajardo was the top finisher for the Forester women. She placed 57th out of the 255 runners with a 6-kilometer time of 23:29.0. Sophomore Molly Gniady was 179th, senior Senait Berhe 188th, sophomore Audrey Paglia 194th, and junior Olivia Parrott 197th. The four runners finished in a 25-second span beginning with Gniady's 26:09.8.
Washington University in St Louis was the team champion on the women's side with 58 points and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, the hosts of the regional, was second at 93. The Foresters' 800 points placed them 30th in the 36-team field.
The field for the 2018 NCAA Division III Championships will be announced Sunday afternoon.