Galvan Tops off K-State Career at NCAA Championship
Going into the Midwest Regional last weekend, the senior from Guanajuato, Mexico, knew she had one last shot to make it back to the NCAA Championships.
She made it to the NCAA's as a sophomore in 2012 and, in doing so, broke the K-State record by finishing the 6K race in 20:28.3 en route to a 45th overall finish.
However, as a junior in 2013, she missed the cut.
So this year, her final season at K-State, the pressure was on. Using last season as motivation, Galvan ran harder than ever at this year's Midwest Regional, and her ninth-place finish was enough to secure her an at-large bid into the NCAA Championship, which is set for today.
"I'm really excited because this is what I have wanted to do every season, and last season I didn't make it," said Galvan, her voice giddy with excitement. "I knew this was my last year to make it into NCAA competition, to that race."
The NCAA Championship takes place at the La Vern Gipson Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Indiana, and will begin at 11 a.m.
A course Galvan is familiar with, K-State cross country competed at La Vern Gipson Cross Country Course earlier this season in the Pre-National Invitational on Oct. 18, where Galvan highlighted the women's team by finishing 51st with a time of 21:34.4.
Though Galvan said when the team raced on the course in October it was slow and muddy from a long week of rain, she still got a good look at it during the Pre-National meet and expects better conditions today.
"I am familiar with the course since we went a month ago," explained Galvan, "and I've run it two or three times. It's a really fair course. There are no spots where it's really, really hard."
A seasoned veteran and unspoken team leader, Galvan's success during her Wildcat career comes from within.
Explains K-State cross country head coach Ryun Godfrey, "She's the type of athlete that when she comes to practice every day, there is a purpose. She's not real vocal, but she is a leader by example because she comes in every day and works hard."
Working hard and getting better every day, Galvan's senior campaign has been an exciting one. In September, Galvan garnered a top-five finish at the Big Ten Preview (Sept. 20), a feat earning her Big 12 Runner of the Week honors while also placing second at the J.K. Gold Classic Duals (Sept. 6) in Wichita, Kansas.
She's faced tough competition thus far, but today Galvan will face some of the toughest competition of her four-year career. Thirty-one schools and 37 of the nation's top individuals will be represented at this year's national championship meet.
"If you look to the NCAA basketball tournament, there are 65 teams that get to compete while only 31 get to compete for cross country," explained Godfrey on just how difficult it is to make it to the NCAA Championship. "That's less than half as many, so when you see there's 300 and something cross country teams in the country, and only 31 make it, it's difficult to qualify as a team.
"Then, individually it's really difficult because they only take four individuals in each region, and with the two at-larges, they scan the entire country for the highest placer."
Godfrey said last Saturday they knew Galvan's ninth-place finish at the regional meet would be in the running for the at-large bid. However after she finished, it was a waiting game to know for sure.
"We just kept waiting for that region to see someone knock her out, and it didn't happen," said Godfrey. "We went through all through nine regions and checked, so, unofficially, we had that all figured out on Saturday but we didn't want to say anything until the selection committee said, 'Yeah, you're in.'"
And she was in. And she couldn't be happier.
"My goal is to be top 40, and hopefully I can place that," concluded Galvan on her goals for today's meet. "That's the goal - to be past 40 - and I'm just going to do whatever it takes to run faster."
She has what it takes to run fast, and now that she's made it to the national meet, pressure aside, she's ready to get on the course and do what she does best: run.
"She's talented, and her talents have taken her far," said Godfrey. "She's typically all smiles, but she has especially been smiling this week. She's very excited."