The No. 27 West Virginia cross country team heads to State College, PA for the third time this season to compete in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regionals.

“This is it,” said WVU head coach Sean Cleary. “The NCAA Regionals has been on this group’s mind since August.”

The race will be run on Penn State’s Nittany Lions’ Blue-White Golf Course. This will be the Mountaineers’ third time competing on this course.

Thirty-two teams will compete and the top 25 runners will earn All Mid-Atlantic Region Honors.

According to the USTFCCCA National Poll, the ranked teams competing Friday will include No. 9 Penn State, No. 21 Villanova, No. 24 Penn and No. 27 WVU, with Georgetown receiving three votes.

In the USTFCCCA Mid-Atlantic Regional Rankings, Penn State has the No. 1 spot, followed by No. 2 Villanova, No. 3 Penn, No. 4 West Virginia and No. 5 Georgetown.

“Regardless of the outcome, I could not be prouder of the commitment of this team,” Cleary said. “We have had a few bumps and bruises along the way, but I have no doubt that they will run their hearts out in the hopes of qualifying for the NCAA Championship.”

WVU needs a strong overall performance in this meet to qualify for the NCAA Cross Country Championships for the first time since 2014. Thirty-one teams will compete in the NCAA Championship, consisting of 18 automatic bids, the top two teams in each region and 13 at-large bids.

Another 38 runners will be selected to compete in the NCAA Championships in addition to the teams that have qualified.

At last years Mid-Atlantic Regional meet, West Virginia placed fifth with Millie Paladino and Savanna Plombon earning All-Region honors.

“Quite Honestly, I expect us to run with the confidence that we are a very good team,” Cleary said. “A team that is prepared for the race that keeps relevant on the national level. Do this and we will be happy.”