Rowan senior Kevin Veltre placed third out of nearly 300 runners Saturday at the NCAA Atlantic Region Cross Country Championships, earning an automatic berth in the NCAA Championships.
One day later, Veltre learned that teammates will accompany him to Illinois this coming weekend.
Veltre ran 24:32.6 over 8,000 meters on the Field of Dreams course at Haughton (N.Y.) College to take third out of 290 runners at Regionals. The top-seven finish earned him an automatic bid to nationals. Rowan as a team placed fourth out of 42 schools.
Only the top two teams earn automatic bids, but Rowan – now ranked 25th nationally – was selected as one of 16 at-large schools – two from each of eight regions. The top seven finishers whose teams didn’t qualify automatically earn auto bids.
Veltre, a graduate of Brick Memorial, finished just 18 seconds behind overall winner Grant O’Connor of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute of Troy, N.Y.
The NCAA Division 3 championships are scheduled for Saturday at the North Farm Facility at Principia College in Elsah, Ill., just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis.
In addition to Veltre, Rowan’s contingent at nationals will include junior Dan “Fitch” Henry of Clearview [18th at Regionals in 25:09], sophomore Matt Russo of Westfield [25th in 25:22], senior Nick Nocco from Southern Regional [41st in 25:38], sophomore Jose Figueroa of Highland [64th in 25:59], senior Alex Trapani of South Brunswick [95th in 26:21] and sophomore Jason Merman from Pitman [111th in 26:33].
Rowan scored 151 points at Regionals, finishing behind only nationally top-ranked SUNY Geneseo , RPI  and RIT .
By virtue of their top-35 finishes, Veltre, Henry and Russo earned USTFCCA (U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association) All-Region Honors.