Men's Cross Country Team Takes 2nd Place at Nationals; Women's Team Takes 9th
Nov. 23, 2009 -- All five scoring runners for the Western State men's team earned All-America honors as the Mountaineers finished as the national runner-up for the third consecutive season at the NCAA Division II National Cross Country Championships held Nov. 21 at the Southern Indiana cross country course.
Iain Donnan finished 12th overall at the 2009 NCAA Division II National Cross Country Championships.
Hillory Davis earned All-America honors for the first time in her career to lead the women's team to a ninth-place finish.
Iain Donnan finished 12th overall with 31 minutes, 41.7 seconds on the 10-kilometer course after going through the three-kilometer and seven-kilometer splits in the top 10. Tyler Pennel finished 12 seconds behind Donnan and 17th overall while Sean Brown placed 20th with 32:02.8.
Loren Ahonen, who has been battling a foot injury the last two weeks, finished No. 31 in 32:16.0. David Flynn finished fifth among freshmen and No. 36 overall with 32:29.2.
"Loren hasn’t run in two weeks, and at we thought at one point he had a broken foot," said Head Cross Country Coach Jennifer Michel. "He ran tough, and having him in the national meet definitely helped the team."
Davis finished No. 33 overall with 21:52.1 on the six-kilometer course. She improved eight positions on the second lap three-kilometer lap after going through the checkpoint in 10:56 in 42nd. All 40 runners, who earned All-America honors, were the only student-athletes to finish with a pace faster than 5:55.
Cassandra Ortiz placed six among freshmen and No. 61 overall in 22:24.4 to lead three Mountaineer freshmen who scored in their first national meet. Sophie McNeely finished 13 seconds after Ortiz at No. 74 overall and sophomore Sarah Lyle placed 84th in 22:49.4. Freshman Rachel Webb turned in nearly identical laps with 23:47.3 as Western's fifth scoring runner.
"Honestly, top 10 is a good finish, but we have higher expectations," Michel said. "We’re going to be disappointed if we don’t get our goal, which just means our girls are going to be there and be able to move up. We had four freshmen running in their first national meet. Five girls were sick last week and three were on antibiotics and kind of wiped us out, so to be able to finish the way we did was a great way to end the women’s season."
Story by Jared Verner, sports information director, WSC Athletics