EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - ?
Despite turning out one of the best efforts in program history, the No. 12 University of Southern Indiana women's cross country team fell just short of a berth in the NCAA Division II National Championships as the Screaming Eagles finished fifth out of 30 teams at the NCAA II Midwest Region Championships Saturday at Angel Mounds.
In a field littered with nationally-ranked teams, seven to be exact, the Eagles needed a top-four finish to advance as a team. USI completed the day 13 points shy of that mark, despite setting a program-record for average time (21:51) for its top five runners.
Senior Julia Kohnen (Florissant, Missouri) finished fifth in the 211-competitor field to lead the Eagles and earn a berth as an individual to the national meet. Kohnen crossed the finish line with a six-kilometer time of 20 minutes, 57.19 seconds, less than 12 seconds behind first-place Emily Oren of Hillsdale College.
Oren helped the No. 7 Chargers to a second-place finish with 76 points, while No. 8 Wayne State University was third with 115 points. No. 1 Grand Valley State University cruised to a first-place finish with a team score of 42, while Malone University claimed the fourth and final team berth into the national meet with 132 points.
USI, which finished with 145 points, made a push on Malone in the final 3k of the race after trailing by more than 50 points at the halfway mark.
Senior Skylair Hilton (Middlebury, Indiana) and freshman Emily Roberts (Fredericktown, Ohio) played a big part in that surge. Hilton finished 14th with a time of 21:28.34, while Roberts was 27th with a time of 21:52.04.
Junior Jamie Adkins (Owensboro, Kentucky) and sophomore Cathryn Peter (Tell City, Indiana) were 49th and 50th, respectively, while seniors Alissa Knable (New Albany, Indiana) and Rebekah Landy (Cumberland, Indiana) were 65th and 67th, respectively.
Hilton joins Kohnen in earning All-Midwest Region honors, while Roberts was two spots and less than five seconds shy of earning All-Region accolades.
In addition to Kohnen, other individuals earning a spot at nationals included Bellarmine University's Emily Frith and Saginaw Valley State University's Emily Short. Frith was second overall with a time of 20:53.35, while Short was seventh with a time of 21:12.69.
The NCAA II National Championships are December 6 at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Kentucky, and are part of the NCAA II Fall Sports Festival. The men's 10k is slated for a 10 a.m. (CST) start, while the women's 6k is scheduled to begin at 11:15 a.m.