ELSAH, Ill. – The University of Rio Grande women’s cross country team placed 32nd in Saturday’s 37th annual NAIA Women’s Cross Country National Championships Saturday at North Farm Cross Country Course.
Sophomore Lucy Williams (Athens, OH) had the top finish among the seven runners representing the RedStorm, placing 110th in a time of 18:52.
A total of 36 teams and 334 individuals competed in the 5k race.
Sophomore Maggie Dellinger (Washington Court House, OH) and junior Keri Lawrence (Reedsville, OH) were Rio’s next two highest finishers, placing 245th and 273rd, respectively. Dellinger crossed in a time of 19:52, while Lawrence finished in 20:14.
Also representing the RedStorm was junior Aubrey Dunfee (Baltimore, OH), who was 278th in a time of 20:19; junior Rachel Ball (Chillicothe, OH), who was 295th in 20:44; senior Katie Glover (Ashville, OH), who placed 305th in a time of 21:13; and junior Emili Sannes (Carlisle, OH), who was 310th after crossing in 21:27.
For the fourth time in the last five years, British Columbia brought home the team title. The Thunderbirds, who also claimed the coveted red banner in 2012, 2013 and 2014, had their top four racers finish among the top 30 en route to 90 total points.
Defending national champion Northwestern Christian (Ore.) placed second as a team with 135 points. Rounding out the top five teams were Biola (Calif.) (166 points), Aquinas (Mich.) (180 points) and Oklahoma City (206 points). Both Biola and Aquinas also finished third and fourth at the 2015 event.
One of the great storylines on the day was the race by Oklahoma City’s Aminat Olowora. The Stars’ junior not only became the only individual champion in program history, she set a new NAIA championship meet record by covering the 5K course in 16:24.28 – approximately 17 seconds faster than the previous mark set in 2008 by Alissa McKaig of Indiana Tech.
Rounding out the top five individuals were Hannah Segrave of Milligan (Tenn.) with a time of 17:08.73; Jessa Perkinson of Southern Oregon, who covered the course in 17:13.54; Betsy Douglas of USC Beaufort (S.C.), who finished in 17:21.26; and Tiffany Rauch of Indiana Tech with a time of 17:23.15.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.