Men’s cross country runner Jeff Perrella ’11 placed eighth at Saturday’s NCAA Northeast Regional Championships, earning him a spot at the NCAA National Championships next week. He is the first Bulldog to qualify since Lucas Meyer ’05 in 2004.

In what could have been his last race for Yale, Perrella stayed at the front of the pack, even as it began to thin out. His perseverance paid off; after narrowly edging out Columbia’s Tom Poland by 0.4 seconds in the last 100 meters, Perrella clinched eighth and with it his spot to nationals. He completed the 10-kilometer course in 30:04.2 at a pace of 4:50 per mile.

Perrella said he took the lessons he learned in past races of the season—including his top-10 finishes at the Penn State National and Ivy League Heptagonal Championships—and executed them.

“When you do things right, things go well for you,” Perrella said.

The Yale men’s cross country team finished 11th out of 35 teams competing, beating Harvard but losing to the other Ivies present at the meet.

Perrella will head back to practice this week to prepare for the NCAA Championships on Nov. 22 in Terre Haute, Ind.