Women’s cross country team completes season with 20th place finish at NCAA Championships

The Trinity women’s cross country team wrapped up their season at the NCAA Championship race on Nov. 23 in Hanover, Ind. at Hanover College. This was a 6K race for the Tiger women, and they came into the competition ranked ninth in the nation. The men did not qualify

“It was an honor to be compared to and compete with the best schools in the country. We were all really nervous for the race and it showed in our performance. The best part, though, was knowing that my teammates worked so hard to get to that one last race””especially since we are all upperclassmen and have really developed as runners together,” said senior captain Jackie Newell.

The competition was challenging””not only at the race, but also in qualifying. Only the top seven women’s runners from Trinity were allowed to attend. Each team is given a total score based on the rankings of their top seven runners. The seven runners selected to run for Trinity were juniors Nicola Hill, Autumn Kervella and Michelle Oberndorf, as well as seniors Maddy Murphy, Jackie Newell, Vanessa Moreno and Rosemary Steup. The race had 280 total runners competing.

Johns Hopkins (Md.) was the National Champion on the women’s side with 85 points. However, Trinity runner Maddie Murphy led the Tigers with a 45th-place finish at a time of 22 minutes, 8.3 seconds, to help Trinity take 20th place overall with 486 points.

“This cross country season was full of great accomplishments from every runner on the team. The training and hard work we started back in May was definitely shown in our performance this season and by having the opportunity to return to nationals. Even though the results weren’t as we had hoped, we were happy to have this great season end at the national meet,” said senior Vanessa Moreno.

The other Trinity runners finished as follows: Steup in 101st, Moreno in 128th, Newell in 174th, Oberndorf in 202nd, Hill in 211th and Kervella in 260th.

The Trinity women’s team is graduating six senior runners this year, including Jessie Dean, Moreno, Murphy, Newell and Steup on the women’s side and Gerardo Hernandez for the men’s team. The contributions of these six seniors were a large part of this year’s cross country team’s accomplishments; however, they will all be returning to represent the Tigers in the spring on the track team.

Many Tigers were also honored with postseason awards. This included the SCAC All-Sportsmanship team. For cross country, sophomore Chris Soto represented the men, while sophomore Mariana Sigala represented the women. Head coach Derick Lawrence was also named the NCAA South/Southeast Women’s Cross Country Regional Coach of the Year, while Murphy was named the NCAA South/Southeast Women’s Cross Country Runner of the Year.

“This season has been a great journey for all of our student-athletes with outstanding accomplishments,” said Lawrence. “A culture and tradition of excellence has been established in this program by our seniors that can be carried on by our underclassmen. We can look towards the track and field season this spring with the same desire and goal-driven attitude that has brought us success.”

The Tigers will return next year with seven seniors, nine juniors, 12 sophomores and a new class of first years. The Tigers will be aspiring to win their third straight SCAC title.