Making its first-ever appearance in the NCAA National Championships in program history, the Merrimack College women’s cross country team placed 31st in Division II’s biggest race of the season, capping off a historic season in extremely impressive fashion on Saturday afternoon at the Plantes Ferry Athletic Complex in Spokane, Wash.
Top Finisher: Kristin Schmidt (129th Place / 23:07.00)
Team Score: 31st (866)
Location: Plantes Ferry Athletic Complex | Spokane, Wash.
How It Happened
Appearing in the Division II National Championship for the first time in the history of the program after placing third in the Northeast Regionals on Nov. 10, Merrimack capped off one of its best seasons in recent memories with a strong showing at Nationals Saturday.
Leading the way was sophomore Kristin Schmidt ( Athens, N.Y.), who ranked 129thamong all racers with a time of 23:07.00. Behind her, senior Fiona Coleman (Windsor, Conn.) represented the second-best Merrimack finisher (160th / 23:30.90), while freshmanClaire Aalerud (Winchester, Mass.) rounded out the top-three Warriors with her time of 24:09.20, good for 188th overall.
Also running for Merrimack on Saturday were junior Kelsey Grimmer (Shelton, Conn.) and freshman Colleen Englert (Fayeteville, N.Y.), who contributed to the Warriors’ team score by placing 191st and 198th, respectively, with times of 24:13.80 and 24:31.90.
Rounding out the field for the Navy and Gold were senior Brianna Devereaux (Londonderry, N.H.) and sophomore Kerry Phelan (Peabody, Mass.), who also competed against some of the country’s top runners from every region nationwide.
Each region was allotted a certain amount of team and individual qualifiers, and after placing third in an exciting Regional Championship two weeks ago, Merrimack earned one of those automatic bids which allowed them to continue a magical season that has seen them earn recognition in both regional and national rankings and earn top-four finishes in every race it had competed in during the regular season.
A young Warrior squad returns most of the talent that carried them to Northeast-10 Conference, Northeast Regional and National prominence this fall, as the program looks to continue those strides in 2014.
What They Said
Head Coach Chris Cameron: “I’m so proud of the girls for making it to the National Championship. Seniors Fiona Coleman and Brianna Devereaux were a joy to coach and provided great leadership for our young squad. They will greatly missed! We’ll continue to train hard to ensure that we experience it again. The future has never looked brighter for Merrimack!”