Women’s cross-country wins national title

Dorian DeBose | Senior Sports Editor

The Washington University women’s cross-country team captured the 2018 NCAA Division III Cross Country National Championship on Saturday. The Bears narrowly edged out two-time defending champion, Johns Hopkins University by a single point, 98-99 to win their second title in program history.

Junior Paige Lawler became Wash. U.’s first individual national champion in cross country. Lawler finished the race in 20:55.0, three seconds faster than her closest competitor. Lawler was consistently among the top runners throughout the race before pulling away in the final kilometer.

Three other Bears earned all-American honors for their efforts. Graduate student Aly Wayne finished seventh with a time of 21:12.2. Wayne climbed towards the front as the race progressed. At the first distance marker, she was in 18th; by the second marker, she had pushed to 13th. She passed the last marker in ninth and outpaced the competition down the home stretch to reach seventh. Junior Sophie Watterson posted a time of 21:31.6. Watterson nearly matched her personal best time on her way to her All-American finish. Senior Lisa Gorham finished 29th with a time of 21:49.6. Gorham demolished her previous career-best time, finishing nearly half a minute faster. The fifth time for the Bears was posted by senior Molly Shepherd, who placed 79th with a time of 22.24.3.

The championship was the second the Bears have earned under the guidance of head coach Jeff Stiles. The Women’s cross-country team has now finished in the top-5 of the national championship for five consecutive seasons. The men’s cross-country team also competed, finishing second behind No. 1 North Central College.

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