Virginia Beach, VA – The University of Maine at Presque Isle Women's Cross Country team capped off their season with a 20th place finish at the USCAA National Championships.
The 29 institution field saw 159 finishers run the 6K race held at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex. Leading the way early was Elaine Labarge (SR, Alpena, MI) of Cleary University, but her early pace proved too tough as Julie Johnson (SO) of Florida College took the title with the low posting of 22:07. Second place saw Aine McMorrow (SO, Dublin Knocklyon, Ireland) of SUNY Canton, the 2015 champion, followed by Labarge.
The team winner was Cleary College with the low score of 59 points. Berea College was second at 69 with Albany College of Pharmacy in third spot at 119. The flat although soft course allowed the season's favorites to get out in position early and run to their potentials. The spectator friendly loops allowed for viewing race progress repeatedly.
The Owls finished in 20th spot and were led by freshman Brianna Lesperance (FR, Embden, ME) in at 27:35 and 69th position. Her time translates to a personal best 22:46 5k performance, 80 seconds better than her high school best and well below her low posting of the 2016 season. Chenoa Jackson (SO, Wilton, ME) was in at 28:42 (94th) and was followed by teammates Elise Gudde (SO, Caribou, ME) (129th, 32:53), Lauren Chapman (FR, Mapleton, ME) (151st, 36:57, and Brynn Staples (FR, Presque Isle, ME) (159th, 42:26).
Head Coach Chris Smith indicated that "this was a true national caliber course with superior direction and timing. A great course and favorable weather conditions made this venue one to be returned to in subsequent years." He further stated that the banquet featuring soccer and volleyball awards presentations as well as those for cross country made for "a very positive experience for the athletes."