By: Sam Knehans, Communications & Sports Information Intern
LAWRENCE, Kan. — (Results) British Columbia concluded its national title defense, bringing home its second-straight team title at the 34th Annual NAIA Women’s Cross Country National Championships Saturday at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, Kan. The Thunderbirds, who were ranked No. 1 in the NAIA in the final-regular season poll, become just the third team to begin the season ranked No. 1 and go on to win the National Championships. The previous two programs to do so were former-member Simon Fraser (B.C.) (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007) and Cal State San Marcos (2011).
Each of the scoring five for British Columbia earned All-America honors, helping the team to a combined 5-kilometer time of 1:30:37—with 56 total points—to best the 32-team field. Association of Independent Institutions individual titlist Maria Bernard led the way for the Thunderbirds with a third place finish and a time of 17:19. Catharine Farish (11th), Amelie de Fenoyl (12th), Jackie Regan (19th), Micha Gutmanis (28th) and Natalia Hawthorn (29th) were also named All-Americans.
The 2013 Women’s Cross Country National Championships team title is just the second in program history for British Columbia.
College of Idaho, who was ranked No. 2 heading into the meet, placed second as a team—for the second-straight year—with 97 points and a combined 5k time of 1:30:35. Hillary Holt, 2012 NAIA National Champion and two-time (2012, 2013) Cascade Collegiate Conference individual titlist, defended her national title, outpacing the 319-runner field with a 5k time of 16:48. Runner-up Hannah Helker of Oklahoma Baptist finished in 16:58
Rounding out the top five individuals were Bernard; Sora Klopfenstein of College of Idaho, with a time of 17:52; and Kristen Garwood of Hannibal-LaGrange (Mo.), who covered the course in 17:57.
Biola (Calif.), led by Carrie Soholt's 14th-place finish, placed third with 174 points and a combined team time of 1:33:36. The Eagles had been ranked No. 3 in the NAIA heading into the National Championships.
Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) (189 points) and Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) (196 points) round out the top five teams. The programs were ranked No. 11 and No. 8, respectively, in the final regular-season Top 25.