CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Shawnee State University women’s cross country team continued on its outstanding season on Friday afternoon as Sarah Biehl blasted the field with a time of 18:07.5 and underclassmen Anna Havranek and Katie Saling put up top-25 times at the NAIA Preview in Charlotte, N.C.
Behind the heels of the trio, as well as the fact that the Bears put all seven of its scoring runners in the top 60, Shawnee State grabbed a strong third-place finish of 23 teams to improve what is quickly becoming a banner year for the No. 10 program in the country.
Individually speaking, Biehl had put together a banner year for herself – even before the NAIA Preview had begun. The senior certainly improved on said banner year as the Lowell, Ohio became just the sixth runner in program history to win multiple meets in a career with Friday’s performance.
The Sport Management major’s time of 18:07.5 at the NAIA Preview not only bested second-place runner Rachel Cundy of Lewis-Clark State by nearly 11 full seconds, it gave Biehl another top 25 time in program history.
Biehl’s latest fast mark also put Friday’s time in a tie for seventh on the all-time list, which also allowed the senior to become the fourth person in program history (along with Lisa Davies, Star Emmert and Sara Armstrong) to record at least two top-10 times in a career.
Once again, Biehl was not along in setting a high standard, as for the second meet in a row, Havranek and Saling joined Biehl in posting times of under 19 seconds.
Both runners would use their respective times to finish in the top 25, as Havranek placed 17th with a time of 18:49.5.
Saling joined Havranek at the finish line not too long after with an 18:56.6, placing the freshman in the 24th position and improving on her own personal best that the Caldwell, Ohio native set just six days prior.
An array of Shawnee State runners would then come across the line between 43rd and 56th place as all of the Bears who placed in this range – four, to be exact – ran times of under 20 minutes.
Megan Ashton would lead the charge in this group as the junior ran a 19:30.8 to grab a 43rd place finish at the NAIA Preview, which was followed closely by Megan Day’s 49th place time of 19:37.7.
A pair of freshmen would round out the scoring for the Bears as Jenna Liston and Alyssa Taylor would come across the line just a second apart from each other as Liston ran a 19:45.1 to finish in 55th while Taylor finished just behind in 56th with a 19:46.1.
With her aforementioned time, Liston will join Biehl, Havranek, Saling, Ashton, and Day on the top 25 runners list.
Overall, No. 2-ranked Aquinas (Mich.) would come out as the event winners in placing six of its seven scoring runners in the top 30 to grab 67 points, which gave the Saints a 51-point edge over second-place Indiana Wesleyan (118 points). Shawnee State would finish with a total of 131 points in finishing at the aforementioned third position.
The Shawnee State women’s cross country program will take a two-week sabbatical before heading southward once more to compete in the ASICS Sand Shark Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 24 in Hardeeville, S.C.