Cross Country Makes History at NAIA Championships

Katie Thede and Sarah Brooks earn NAIA All-American Honors

Nov. 24, 2009 By Jenna Bartlo



VANCOUVER, Wash. --- Biola's women's cross country team placed second at the 2009 NAIA Women's Cross Country National Championships on Saturday at Fort Vancouver Park in Vancouver, finishing just three points out of first and placing all five scorers in the top 41.

The second place overall finish was the best in the program's history as the Eagles stunned the field, moving up from being seeded fourth overall.

Biola ran one of the best team races in school history as all five runners finished within 36 seconds of each other and all among the top 41 in the field of 336 racers. Junior Katie Thede was Biola's top finisher, taking 16th place overall with a time of 18:46. Fellow junior Sarah Brooks was not far behind, crossing the line in 18:48 for 18th place.

Sophomore Nychele Fischetti took 30th overall in 19:11 followed by juinor Kelsey Gasner in 35th in 19:19 and junior Carissa Bowman in 41st in 19:22.

"Everyone was confident in our season long preparation and planning going into this race," said Head coach Jonathan Zimmerman. "We had two days to look at the course and that was a huge help as we had good opportunity to map things out and we all were able dialog on what the race might look like.



"The race went close to how we had scripted it and they deserve a lot of credit," said Zimmerman. "This was an outstanding field of teams and the conditions were truly 'old school' cross country conditions with deep grass, mud, wind, and wet weather."

The top six runners on the Biola squad finished within 47 seconds of each other as the Eagles were the first team to put six across the finish line.

The second-place overall finish was the best in the program's history and just the second NAIA Runner-up finish by any sport at Biola since volleyball lost in the championship final in 1997.

"Everyone knows that this type of season and final championship run is not to be taken for granted," said Zimmerman. "There was an understanding that they all were going to throw down a great effort today.  We were Thinking Big!" 

Written by Jeff Hoffman, Sports Information Director. For more information, contact Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator. Jenna can be reached at (562) 777-4061 or through email at jenna.l.bartlo@biola.edu.

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