TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Virginia Tech redshirt junior Will Mulherin (Yorktown, Va.) finished 30th overall to earn All-America honors at the NCAA Division I National Championship Meet hosted by Indiana State today on the LaVerne Gibson Championship Cross Country Course at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center.
“It’s an outstanding achievement for Will to earn All-America,” said Tech head cross country and distance coach Ben Thomas. “This is a unique championship where you line up against 250 of the best distance runners in the country and to come out in the top-30, in your first time at the event too, is really special.”
Mulherin covered the 10 kilometer course in a career-best time of 29:58.1 to finish 30th out of the field of 252 total runners. Today’s NCAA Championship wraps up an outstanding cross country season for Mulherin as he became Virginia Tech’s ninth overall All-American and fifth male All-American in cross country. In addition, he became the first male to earn All-America in cross country since Brian Walter in 1989, who was also 30th. It also marks Mulherin’s second career collegiate All-America honor as he was fifth in the outdoor 5,000-meter run in track in 2010.
“It’s a great feeling to be an All-American in cross country,” said Mulherin. “I’ve always liked cross country the best out of cross and track. I feel like it’s the real test of a distance runner and it’s been one of my goals for a while to be an All-American in cross, so it feels good be able to finally get it.”
Lawi Lalang of Arizona won the men’s race in 28:44.1 as Wisconsin won the team national title. Sheila Reid of Villanova was the women’s national champion in 19:41.2 as Georgetown took the women’s team crown. The top-40 finishers in each race earned All-America accolades.
Mulherin earned his trip to nationals based on his performance at the NCAA Southeast Regional Championship last Saturday as he led the Hokie men to a fourth place team finish by placing fifth overall in a field of 218 runners. He posted a time of 29:59.9 for the 10 kilometer race and his fifth place finish was the second highest finish ever by a Hokie male at the regional meet, eclipsed only by Steve Taylor’s third place in 1987. Mulherin and classmate Michael Hammond (19th, 30:43.3) each earned All-Region honors for the first time in their career and are the first duo to earn All-Region honors in the same season for the Hokie men since 1994.
Earlier this season, Mulherin placed seventh in a career-best 8k time of 23:19.3 to earn his second career all-conference honor at the ACC Championship Meet. He joined Devin Cornwall as the only Hokie men to become two-time All-ACC runners in cross country. Mulherin was also seventh as a sophomore in 2009.
Mulherin and the Hokie distance crew now turn their attention to the 2011-12 indoor track & field season. Select Hokies will compete at the Liberty Kickoff Meet in Lynchburg, Va. on Dec. 2. The first home meet of the 2012 indoor campaign is on Jan. 13 and 14 as Tech hosts the VT Invitational. All home indoor track meets are held at Rector Field House on campus in Blacksburg.
For updates on Virginia Tech cross country, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Track).