Women's Cross Country Takes Fifth At NCAA Division III Championship

Women's Cross Country Takes Fifth At NCAA Division III Championship

THE BASICS:

- Location: Tom Sawyer Park (Louisville, Ky.)

- The Lead: The MIT women's cross country team, ranked No. 2 in the latest United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) national poll, finished fifth out of 32 teams at the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championship held at Tom Sawyer Park on Saturday morning. The top-five finish for the Engineers is their third straight and sixth overall.

In every national championship in which the women's cross country team has competed in since 2008, MIT has placed in the top-10 at the national site.Johns Hopkins University earned the national championship team title with 128 points and was followed by Washington University (Mo.) with 202 points, SUNY Geneseo in third (214), Williams College in fourth (232) and MIT (234).

At her first national championship, freshman Megan McCandless (Livermore, Calif.) placed 17th individually in the field of 280 student-athletes to earn All-America honors with a time of 21:04.9. McCandless becomes the 12th student-athlete in program history to be named an All-American.

 The Engineers close out a very successful 2016 campaign as they won the program's first NCAA Division III New England Regional Championship since 2014 that came along with the team's 10th straight New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) title.

HOW IT HAPPENED:

- Behind McCandless, was senior Maryann Gong (Livermore, Calif.) who clocked a time of 21:43.6 - the second fastest for MIT and 64th overall.- Senior Christina Wicker (Oak Harbor, Wash.) was third for the Engineers (79th overall) with a time of 21:46.8, sophomore Leandra Zimmermann (Augsburg, Germany) was fourth for MIT (97th overall) in 21:58.2 and junior Mary Eccles (Wahiawa, Hawaii) rounded out the list of scoring student-athletes for MIT as she took 122nd place in 22:05.6.

- The other two finishers for the Engineers were sophomore Jenny Xu (Cupertino, Calif.), who placed 200th in 22:35.7 and and freshman Katie Bacher (Macungle, Pa.), who was 203rd in 22:39.7 in her first NCAA Championship appearance.

- At the three-kilometer split, MIT was ranked eighth with 339 points as the Engineers were running 25th, 51st, 61st, 93rd and 109th - among scoring student-athletes, but made major moves over the second half of the race and they were third with 228 points at the 4.18-kilometer split by having runners in eighth, 42nd, 49th, 60th and 69th.

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