Lakeland, FL- The women's cross country team traveled to Lakeland, FL today to compete in the 2015 USCAA Women's Cross Country National Championship. The Mountaineers placed 1st in the field of 23 teams, making them the 2015 National Champions in the USCAA. The Mountaineers scored 46 points with a team time of 2:04.30, three minutes and sixteen seconds faster than the second place team. Cleary was the second place team with a score of 77 followed by SUNY-ESF with 98 points. This is a large improvement for the Berea women coming off a 6th place finish in 2014.
Florida had record high temperatures on the day of the race which made it a very tactical 6K race for the runners. Several runners were not able to finish the race because of the heat but the Mountaineers ran a very smart race and were able to beat the field and the heat. Leading the way for the women was freshman Dove DeNigris. Dove finished in second place overall with a time of 23:59, 25 seconds behind the winner of the race. Mercy Kershner was the second runner for Berea to finish the race with a 24:26 time, placing her in sixth place. Erin Gonterman came in 11th place with a time of 24:59. Two other women, Gabrielle Sawyer and Gabriella Sabino finished consecutively after each other, 15th and 16th, with times of 25:32 and 25:33, respectively.
Other finishers for the women were Jenna Hughes finishing 21st with a time of 26:05 and a 40th place finish for Olamide Adejuma with a time of 27:26.
With their finishes, DeNigiris and Kershner earned the honor of being named First Team USCAA Women's Cross Country All-Americans, while Gonterman earned Second Team USCAA Women's Cross Country All-American status with her finish.
"We had a great workout the week before and coming into the meet we knew if we ran smart and everything clicked we could win," said head coach Shawn Jakubowski. "Prior to leaving for Florida we checked the weather and saw that the heat would play a huge factor so we made sure we were hydrated and we prepared for a very tough mental race. The women stuck to the race plan perfectly and after the first loop I knew we had a great chance. It was a great feeling to see our name at the top of the results board and it was a moment the team and I will never forget, it was a perfect way to end a great season!"
The women's cross country team finished with top ten finishes in all but one of their seven races this season.