On Saturday afternoon, the women’s cross country team returned to the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Indiana for the first time since 2013. Despite a season filled with ups and downs, the women’s team pushed through and finished its season on a positive note.
The Red finished in 29th place out of 31 teams with 693 points. Cornell beat out Harvard, which finished above the Red at the Northeast Regional Championships but placed 31st at Championships with 787 points. Junior Elle Orie crossed the finish line of the 6k course first for the Red, placing 90th overall in 21:12.2.
“Elle has progressed all season long, and her finish today was a testament to her tremendous work ethic and dedication,” said head coach Mike Henderson. “She put herself in a great position early in the race and fought through the tough conditions extremely well to run her best races of the season. There is no better way to end your season than that.”
Senior Taylor Knibb (125th, 21:25.0), sophomore Natalie Morris (206th, 22:07.5), senior Kyleigh Spearing (207th, 22:08.2) and junior Melissa Zammitti (234th, 22:40.6) all finished after.
“The women racing today did a very nice job of competing. They knew going in it was going to be unlike any other race they have experienced, but they didn’t let that phase them,” Henderson said. “They competed hard every step of the race, and finished ahead of their pre-race ranking. That’s a [great] showing in your first time at this meet.”
As the NCAA Championships marked the team’s last meet, Knibb, a senior co-captain, reflected on her final cross country season as a whole.
“The season, if you had to use one word to categorize it, is a season full of surprises,” Knibb said. “It was awesome that many of those surprises ended up being positive and it was a memorable season.”
Many of the cross country runners will move on to indoor track and field for the winter season, which begins Dec. 7.