BECKLEY, W.Va. — The University of Rio Grande captured the women’s team championship at the 2016 River States Conference Cross Country Championship, which was hosted by West Virginia University-Tech on Saturday morning at The Summit Bechtel Reserve.
By virtue of the victory, the RedStorm earned a trip to the NAIA Cross Country National Championship on Saturday, Nov. 19 in Elshah, Ill.
Head coach Bob Willey’s squad had four of the top 12 finishers in the race, with sophomore Lucy Williams (Athens, OH) posting the top showing by finishing fourth in 19:46.
Sophomore Maggie Dellinger (Washington Court House, OH), junior Rachel Ball (Chillicothe, OH) and junior Aubrey Dunfee (Baltimore, OH) finished 10th, 11th and 12th, respectively. Dellinger crossed in 21:19, Ball finished in 21:27 and Dunfee posted a time of 21:33.
Also for the RedStorm, junior Keri Lawrence (Pomeroy, OH) was 16th in a time of 21:58, junior Emili Sannes (Carlisle, OH) placed 24th with a finish of 22:39 and senior Alex Ellis (Ona, WV) was 27th in 22:48.
Asbury (Ky.) University senior Katy Falkenberg was the individual champion for the second time in her career, winning the 5K race with a time of 19:16.
Other individual national qualifiers included Katie Guarnaccia (Point Park), Anna Shields (Point Park) and Brittany Sloan (IU Kokomo).
The top 14 finishers were declared All-River States Conference, with the first seven finishers named to the First Team and the next seven finishers to the Second Team.
The conference also named a Champions of Character Team, with one individual from each team chosen as the one who best exhibits the five core character values of the NAIA’s Champions of Character program of respect, responsibility, integrity, servant leadership and sportsmanship.
Rio Grande’s honoree was freshman Kelsey Miller (Georgetown, OH).
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.