By Mike DeVader, Communications & Sports Information Intern
LAWRENCE, Kan. – (Results) On a dreary, breezy day at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, Kan., the British Columbia Thunderbirds put on a masterful performance to capture the national title in the 35th Annual NAIA Women’s Cross Country National Championships on Saturday.
British Columbia has now won three-consecutive banners, joining fellow Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) member Cal State San Marcos as the last team to accomplish such a feat. The A.I.I. now owns the last six team national titles.
This is the third championship in school history for British Columbia.
Leading the charge for the Thunderbirds in the 5-kilometer championship was NAIA All-American Maria Bernard – who finished third at the event last year – and took home the 2014 individual championship with a time of 17:03. The Thunderbirds flew away from the 36 other competing teams by placing three runners in the top four, and all five countable competitors finished in the top 29.
By virtue of finishing in the top 30, British Columbia’s Amelie de Fenoyl (3rd; 17:39), Natalia Hawthorn (4th; 17:45), Jackie Regan (10th; 18:11) and Tamara Harris (29th; 18:35) all join Bernard as All-Americans.
The No. 1-ranked squad in the final NAIA Women’s Cross Country Top 25 Poll compiled a team score of 43 – which was 98 points ahead of second-place and No. 4 Lewis-Clark State’s (Idaho) 141. Rounding out the top five was third-place and third-ranked Northwest Christian (Ore.) (181), No. 6 Carroll (Mont.) (234) and second-ranked Dordt (Iowa) (235).
Oklahoma Baptist’s Hannah Fields came in second with a time of 17:34. This is the second-straight year Fields has crossed the finish line in second-place at the championships. Coming in fifth with a time of 17:48 was Lindsey Martin of Columbia (Mo.).