By Wilson Wong, Sports Information Director, University of British Columbia
VANCOUVER, Wash. - The University of British Columbia Thunderbirds won the women's and combined titles at the 2012 NAIA Cross Country National Championships held at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.
The Thunderbirds recorded 98 team points and had four of its five runners finish in the top 20. They were paced by Maria Bernard and Jackie Regan, who took fifth and sixth place, respectively. Bernard crossed the five-kilometre finish line in 17:42 and Regan was eight seconds behind her. Sarah Reimer 18:25 mark earned her a 17th-place finish, followed by Amelie De Fenoyl in 18th (18:27). Rhiannon Evans finished 52nd with a time of 19:12.
By virtue of their top-30 performances, Bernard, Regan, Reimer and De Fenoyl also won All-American honours.
Micha Gutmanis was 56th after completing the race in 19:16, while Heather Slinn was just behind her in 62nd with a time of 19:24.
"We have been working around to get the team together to win," British Columbia head cross country coach Marek Jedrzejek, who was named NAIA women's cross country Coach of the Year. "Finally we did it, the girls ran fantastic."
The Thunderbirds become the 16th program in NAIA history to win a national championship in women's cross country. British Columbia now joins 10 other programs that have won one national championship in the sport.
The school also adds the 2012 NAIA title to its 1993 CIS (then CIAU) championship. Jedrzejek becomes the first UBC coach to ever win CIS and NAIA national titles.
With 112 points, with the first individual titlist in school history, College of Idaho took second-place. Along with Holt, Sarah Johnson, Sora Klopfenstein earned All-American honors. Johnson finished seventh (18:12), while Klopfenstein finished eighth (18:13).
Olivet Nazarene was third with 133 points and two All-Americans, while defending champion Cal State San Marcos was fourth with 149 points and two honorees. Carroll (Mont.) rounds out the top five with 225 points and a pair of All-Americans.
Holt finished her junior year at College of Idaho on top and became the first Coyote to win an individual women's championship with a 5K clocking of 17:00.
Eight teams were represented among the top-10 place winners, with College of Idaho placing a trio of runners in the top 10.