VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – The University of Dallas women's cross country team wrapped up the 2017 season with the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) Championships on Friday. The Crusaders scored 141 points and finished fifth place out of 12 participating teams. This improved UD's spot in the team standings from 2016's 7th place result. There were 125 total runners on the 6k course that was described as "super windy and muddy" by Dallas Head Coach Matthew Barber.
Clare Hernandez (Dade City, Fla.) and Emma Kate Callahan (Overland Park, Kan.) delivered the top performances for the Crusaders with respective times of 26:50 and 26:55. The duo finished 20th and 21st. Alexandra Ralles (Tucson, Ariz.) came in 30th with a time of 27:44. Catherine Thelen (Raleigh, N.C.) followed with a 27:51 time, and Caroline Schemel (Greencastle, Pa.) rounded out the top five finishers for UD with a 28:52 mark. The top quintet of competitors for the Crusaders all placed with the top-40, as Thelen claimed 33rd and Schemel checked in at 37.
Mackenzie Tano (Wylie, Texas) and Hannah Guth (Lake Charles, La.) got timed at 29:34 and 29:58 to finish 47th and 53rd in what was overall a solid performance by all UD runners in a large field of competitors.
Six of the seven racers for UD were competing in the first USCAA Championship. Four of them – all the top Dallas scorers - were true freshman. Softball dual-sport athlete Tano was in her first season on the cross country program. Guth competed in a couple competitions in 2016, but not the final race of the season. Schemel was the lone competitor to run in a previous USCAA Championship, but that was in 2015 and located in Lakeland, Florida. Last year the current junior was studying in Rome.
Clearly University repeated as the USCAA Women's Cross Country Team Champions with 38 points. SUNY ESF followed in second with 58 points. St. Mary of the Wood College earned third with 65 points. Madison Paquett and Natasha Stevenson from Clearly won first and second individuals with times of 23:22 and 23:47, respectively. Vermont Tech's Rebecca Broadbent was one second behind Stevenson to round out the top three spots.