The Black Hills State men's and women's cross country teams qualified for the NCAA Division II national championships Monday.

It is the first time the women's program has qualified, the first time since 2015 the men's team has qualified and the first time at the Division II level that both programs have qualified.

"I am beyond excited to qualify both teams. It would have been difficult if only one team made it," Yellow Jacket coach Scott Walkinshaw said in a release. "Both teams set some lofty goals back in August."

The national championship meet will be at Slippery Rock University in Pittsburgh Dec. 1.

For the men, Jonah Theisen finished ninth at the South Central Regional meet and the program tied its meet high with a sixth place finish. On the women's side, Nicole Allerdings was the high finisher at 19th and the Yellow Jackets also placed sixth.

Both teams still had to wait to find out if they had made the final field. While coaches refreshed NCAA webpage, it was senior Tori Moore who was able to break the news to the staff that the Yellow Jackets had punched a ticket to Pennsylvania.

Moore ran through the Young Center lobby proclaiming the news when she found out BHSU was in.

"Coach Anderson and I have been on pins and needles since the end of the meet Saturday," Wakinshaw said. "I felt we were deserving to go, but the system is so complicated so nothing is guaranteed."

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Twenty Four teams automatically qualify for the meet by being a top-three team in the eight regions, with 10 teams being selected as at-large teams, which is how BHSU was able to get in.

Mines women's hoops add guard

South Dakota School of Mines women's basketball added Laura Martinez Fernandez for the 2019-20 season, a guard from Leon, Spain.

"Laura is a dynamic scoring guard that can make an impact in all areas on the offensive side of the court," Hardrocker coach Ryan Larsen said in a release. "Laura's offensive skill set adds a different element than what we currently have on our roster and that will ultimately make us harder to guard.

Martinez Fernandez is a 5-foot, 7-inch player who was her team's most valuable player in the 2017-18 season and was a Player of Regional Selection team member in 2013, 2015 and 2017.

"Defensively Laura is a tough, athletic defender who plays bigger than her size. She rebounds very well at the guard position, that will allow us to continue to play fast," Larsen said in the release. "I'm delighted that Laura chose to join the Hardrocker women's basketball program. She's a wonderful young lady and very good student."

She helped her team finish third in the National Championship Tournament in 2015 and her team was runner-ups for the regional championship in 2016 and finished fourth in 2017. 

"I'm proud to be a member of the Hardrocker women's basketball program because it makes me live a new way of live and play my favorite sport while studying a major that I like," Martinez Fernandez 

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Contact Geoff Preston at geoffrey.preston@rapidcityjournal.com

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Sports Reporter

Sports reporter for the Rapid City Journal.