RIO GRANDE — There were some anxious moments for the Shawnee State women’s cross country team as the University of the Cumberlands brought the first two runners to the finish line Saturday morning at the Mid-South Cross Country Championships.
However, the Bears showed off their depth as they claimed six of the top-12 spots. All six of those runners came across the line before Cumberlands No. 3 runner finished in 13th.
All six of those runners earned All-MSC honors for finishing in the top 14 as the Bears took home their third straight Mid-South Championship in as many years in the conference, besting Cumberlands, by 17 points (39-56). In the process, the Bears clinched a spot in the NAIA National Championship in two weeks.
Both of Cumberlands’ top two runners were moved back to second and third when it was discovered that Lindsey Wilson’s top runner, who was well out in front of the field, had gone off the course.
Senior Kasey Hosier turned in the highest place of her career at the Mid-South Championships. She finished in fourth place overall to earn first-team All-MSC honors, becoming a three-time All-MSC performance.
She also earned honorable mention All-AMC as a freshman, making her a four-time all-conference honoree. She finished Saturday’s course in 19:20.
Halle Richards crossed the line behind Hosier in fifth with a time of 19:24. Even with times slower than usual on the hilly course, she turned in the second-best time of her season.
She was also the first freshman from any team to cross the line, giving her Mid-South Freshman of the Year honors to go along with a first-team All-MSC accolade.
Ninth through 12th place all belonged to Shawnee State as the Bears’ third through sixth runners all finished within 29 seconds of one another. Each was named second-team All-MSC in the process. Jamie Retherford earned her first all-conference accolade with her time of 19:51 – the third-quickest time of her season and career.
Ashlyn Howie Ran 20 minutes even to pick up her second all-conference accolade in as many seasons. Her time was the fifth-quickest of her career.
The Bears fifth finisher, Bri Tudor, missed a career best by just three seconds, but still turned in the second-best time of her career, 20:19, to finish in 11th. Running in her first MSC Championship, junior Arielle Knapp was right on her heels in a time of 20:20 – the third-best time of her season.
Amber Smith was the Bears’ seventh runner to cross the line. She finished in 15th place with the best time of her season, 20:30.
Four other runners also ran during the championship meet. Megan Day finished 16th in a time of 20:33 – the third-best time of her freshman season.
Andi Lanigan missed her season best by 10 seconds, finishing in 17th overall with the second-best time of her season. Brianna Cahill ran 21:22, a top four time for her, placing her 29th. Sarah Biehl finished in 23:08, placing 44th overall.
After going back-to-back-to-back, the Bears can now turn their attention to the Nov. 17 NAIA Championship in Vancouver, Wash. The women’s race will get underway at 10:30 a.m.