To compete in a do-or-die meet, the Emory cross country team traveled to Berry College (Ga.) Saturday for the South/Southeast Region Championships hosted on the Clara Bowl Course.

The women’s side advanced through an automatic birth after the No. 18 group took first place with 68 points, followed by runner-up Rhodes College (Tenn.) with 103 points and third-place Christopher Newport with 117 points.

Junior Gabrielle Stravach led the way for the Eagles, placing fourth out of 213 runners thanks to a 6K time of 22:25. Junior Megan Waples was the second Eagle on the board with a 23:09 performance for the 14th overall finish. Trailing Waples, senior Mia Eisenhandler finished with a time of 23:11 and junior Tru Powell ran a time of 23:15, taking 15th and 16th place, respectively.

“We have had a team running strategy, with the exception of Gabby [Stravach], who is a little better and stays ahead,” Curtin said. “Overall, I thought we did pretty well.”

The No. 26 men’s squad finished in third place with 103 points out of 29 teams, short of first-place Christopher Newport University (Va.) with 52 points and runner-up Washington and Lee University (Va.) with 58 points.

Senior Michael Sisario led the Eagles, running the 8K with a time of 25:34 to achieve fifth place out of 208 individual runners entered. Following Sisario, senior Lukas Mees attained 11th overall after clocking in at 25:51. Sophomore Bennett Shaw was the third Emory runner to finish with a time of 26:32 to fill the 27th overall spot. Shortly after, junior Shane Sullivan and senior Austin Hunt took 29th (26:37) and 31st (26:40) places , respectively.

The men were short of an automatic bid to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division-III Championships, but received at-large bids Sunday.

“The goal is, as always, to get to the next weekend,” Head Coach John Curtin said. “And we were trying to defend our region titles.”

The playoff season resumes this Saturday after a short rest and preparation period.

“Most of the work is done,” Curtin said. “So it’s about getting rested up and getting heads on straight to race.”

This Saturday, Nov. 19, the Eagles will lay everything on the line in this year’s NCAA Division-III Championships. They will make their second trip of the year to Louisville, Ky., to run on the E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park course. The women will start at 11 a.m., and the men will begin competing at noon.