LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The No. 17 nationally-ranked women's cross country team concluded its 2019 season by competing in the NCAA Division III National Championships, hosted by the Louisville Sports Commission and Spalding (Ky.) University in Tom Sawyer State Park.
In a six-kilometer event that was composed of the top Division III programs in the nation, BW managed to place 16th out of the 32 nationally-qualifying schools, scoring 409 points. National Champions Johns Hopkins (Md.) University took home its sixth team title in the past eight years, with a final score of 125 points.
The Yellow Jackets came in second amongst Great Lakes Region representation and were the highest-placed Ohio Athletic Conference team in the championship meet, edging out 21st-placed crosstown rival, John Carroll University. In its second consecutive season as a team national qualifier, BW managed to jump 11 spots from its 27th-place performance in 2018 National Championships. BW's 16th-place national finish was its third-highest in program history, and its best finish since a program-record eighth place, back in 2002.
As was the case for most of the season, senior runner Kelly Brennan (Akron/Walsh Jesuit) led the charge for BW as she earned United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-American honors (Top 40) for the first time in her career. Brennan's 31st-place performance in today's race joins her with some exclusive Yellow Jackets company as she becomes just the fifth women's cross country All-American in program history, and its first since Kimberly Chinn, back in 2010. Her efforts also highlighted the fourth-highest individual national placement in program history.
As aforementioned, Brennan was BW's top runner, with her 31st-place finish coming in 22:05.6. Next to cross the finish line for the Yellow Jackets was sophomore Alyssa Laughner (Howard, Pa./Central Mountain), who finished 67th in 22:35.8. She was followed by juniors Hastings Marek (Pataskala/Watkins Memorial) and Madison Kile (North Canton/Hoover), who placed 110th and 169th, in 22:57.6 and 23:21.1, respectively. Junior Molina Otte (Omaha, Neb./Millard West) then rounded out the top five scored BW runners by finishing 195th with a final time of 23:28.9. Also making their first ever appearances for BW on the national stage meet were junior Lizzy Gilreath (Mentor) and freshman Hailey Borges (Brunswick). Gilreath ran for a 228th-place finish in a career-best 6k time of 23:53.6, and Borges garnered a 275th-place finish in 25:02.0.