MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The No. 24 West Virginia University cross country team finished in fourth place at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional earlier today in Bethlehem, Pa., at the Goodman Cross Country Course, behind six personal-best times by Mountaineer runners.
“Six of our seven ran the best times of their lives and for that I am very proud,” says coach Sean Cleary. “This has been a very interesting year, and now we wait to find out if we get the call for the national finals.”
The 24th-ranked Mountaineers recorded a team score of 124, with five runners finishing in the top 30. Villanova, who is unranked in the national poll, won the region with a team score of 31. No. 4 Georgetown finished second (35), No. 30 Penn State came in third (92) and No. 22 Princeton finished in fifth (135) behind WVU.
“It’s very satisfying to have watched how hard these young ladies have worked and never given up hope.” Cleary says.
Sophomore runner Kelly Williams
was the first Mountaineer to finish the race, coming in 21st place overall with a personal-best time of 20:49. Senior All-Big 12 runner Sarah Martinelli
was right behind Williams in 22nd place (20:50) just six seconds off her personal-best time (20:44) set at the Big 12 Championships two weeks prior.
West Virginia freshman Jillian Forsey
(20:53) and junior Savanna Plombon
(20:54) completed the course in 25th and 26th place, respectively, with both runners logging personal-best times.
Sophomore Megan Yuan
was not far behind, finishing in 30th place with a personal-best time of 21:06, improving on her time from the Big 12 Championships by 1:16.
Sophomore Paige Szabat
shaved one second off her previous personal-best time, posting a 63rd-place finish (21:34), and freshman Amy Cashin
finished in 65th with a personal-best finish of 21:35.
Villanova senior runners Emily Lipari and Nicky Akande finished in first and second place, respectively, with each completing the course in 19:53.
Georgetown and Villanova each earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Cross Country Championships next weekend in Terra Haute, Ind., while at-large
qualifiers are yet to be determined.