INDIANAPOLIS – Ole Miss senior women’s cross-country skiing Ryann Helmers secured an individual qualifying spot for the 2022 NCAA Cross Country Championships after receiving a general offer during Saturday’s NCAA draft.
Helmers is only the second female rebel to earn an individual spot at the national competition, joining Katie Breathitt in 2012, who finished 62nd overall. In the combined history of the men’s and women’s Ole Miss programs, Helmers is now the sixth Rebel to qualify individually for Nationals, joining Breathitt and six Rebel men’s places: Pablo Sierra (1992, 45th), Bernard Kuria (1997, 67th ), Barnabas Kirui (2006, 71st; 2009, 4th; 2010) and Martin Kirui (2011, 131st).
Helmers – a native of Sanderson, Texas – has been the top Ole Miss women’s runner all season long, averaging 10.2 in her five races this fall. She started the season with an individual win at home at the SEC preview on Sept. 16 (20:29.2), earning her SEC Co-Women’s Runner of the Week honors. From there, Helmers was Ole Miss top finisher at the stacked Cowboy Jamboree on September 24 (20:55.3) in 25th place, eighth at the Panorama Farms XC23 Invite 5K from Virginia on October 15 (16 : 53.5) and a second-team All-SEC winner as the eighth-place finisher for the Rebel Women at the SEC Championships on Oct. 28.
She’s also been particularly fast lately, posting a whopping 6K record of 19:37.2 in the SEC to lead Ole Miss to her seventh consecutive top-three finish in the conference, and a second straight under-20 6K. of 19:57.9 at the NCAA South Regional last Friday for her second career all-region ninth-place nod (the fourth-best regional finish ever by a rebel woman).
Helmers’ SEC time is the fastest 6K by a rebel woman in available records, and she is the only known Ole Miss woman to record multiple times under 20. The other known under 20 times in history of Ole Miss women are Loral Winn SEC time of 19:57.87 from this year, All-American Sintayehu Vissa 19:53.20 from the 2021 NCAA Championships and Clio Ozanne-Jaques 19:48.20 from the 2018 SEC Championships.
Helmers won’t be alone in Stillwater for the national meet, however, as the Ole Miss men clinched their ninth consecutive NCAA championship tag team bid after earning an automatic NCAA second-place qualifier. South Regional Friday. .
The 2022 NCAA Cross Country Championships take place next Saturday (November 19) at Oklahoma State.
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