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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia cross country teams will head to Louisville, Ky., to compete in the 2009 NCAA Southeast Regional Championships on Saturday. The men’s 10k race is slated to begin at 10 a.m., with the women’s 6k race following at 11:15 a.m.

Coming off a runner-up finish at the regional meet last season, Virginia’s men, ranked No. 19 nationally, enter the race as the third-ranked team in the region, behind top-seed No. 8 William & Mary and the second-seed No. 16 NC State. The Cavaliers finished runner-up to the Wolfpack at this year’s ACC Championship and are led by All-American Emil Heineking, who is undefeated this season.

Heineking started the season with a victory at the Lou Onesty Invitational and then won his second-straight George Mason Invitational title. At the Panorama Farms Invitational, he led seven runners across the line that broke the previous course record, shattering the record by 36 seconds. He most recently won his first-ever individual conference title, beating teammate Ryan Collins across the line.

Led by all-region performers Lauretta Dezubay, Stephanie Garcia and Morgane Gay, Virginia earned its first-ever NCAA Southeast Regional Championship on the women’s side last season. With the trio returning, and the addition of transfer Catherine White, the No. 19 women enter the race as the second-ranked team in the region. No. 15 Duke is the top-ranked team.

Dezubay (Lou Onesty) and White (George Mason) each earned individual titles this season and the squad is coming off a third-place finish at ACCs this year.

The top-two teams and top-four individuals from each of the eight regional meets will automatically advance to the NCAA Championships to be held in Terre Haute, Ind., on Monday, Nov. 23. Thirteen teams will also earn an at-large bid, to be announced on Sunday, Nov. 15.

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