He made it

Warring is the first Men’s XC runner to qualify for NCAA DIII Nationals in five years


Mac Trammell

For the first time in five years, Washington and Lee sent a runner to the Division III Cross Country National Championships.

Levi Warring, a junior from Wiliamsburg, Virginia, ran a 26:05.7 on the muddy 8K course at Wilmington College in Mason, Ohio.

“It was kind of cool,” Warring, a team captain, said of being the first competitor from W&L at the meet since Michael Welsh in 2009. “It’s kind of surprising it’s been that long since we’ve had an individual qualifier. But it was awesome.”

Interestingly enough, Welsh followed along with the race online, according to Warring, tweeting with Coach Brandon Spalding as the race materialized.

At the NCAA Regional Meet at Berry College, Warring ran a 25:42.53, good enough for seventh place and the final qualifying spot to advance to the National Championship. W&L placed seventh as a team, but did not qualify to run at Nationals.

While Warring excelled at the Regional meet, he downplayed his form in Mason, even though it was his third best race, timewise, of the season.

“It was actually a pretty bad race,” he said. “I went out way too fast in the race… I kind of got dragged out in front… because there were a lot of people that were falling down in the race because it had rained the night before, and the course was really muddy.”

The mud almost caused him to have a nice heart-to-heart chat with Mother Earth early on in the race. A runner close behind fell and tugged on Warring’s jersey, almost bringing Warring down with him. Luckily, Warring was able to stay standing and completed the race, coming in 222nd out of 280 participants.

Warring also commented on the heightened competitive level at the national meet. The teams, he said, were of a much higher caliber than W&L faced this season. Also, there were about 4,000 spectators at the event, lending extra pressure on him to perform well.

Warring said he is optimistic about next year’s campaign. Preliminary goals for the team include making it to the National Championship and finishing in the Top 25. Along with Warring, sophomores Mac Strehler and Ian McDonald performed well all season long, and all three look to improve next year. As for Warring himself, he’d like to eclipse the 25-minute mark in his senior season.