Story courtesy of Toledo Sports Information
Terre Haute, IN - The Toledo women's cross country team scored 483 points to conclude the 2011 season with an impressive 21st-place finish in the NCAA Championship race on Monday, Nov. 21. The national rank of 21st is a new high in program history, and the highest finish ever recorded by a Mid-American Conference program.
Senior Emma Kertesz led the way for UT, finishing in 49th place with a time of 20:48. Not far behind was junior Kaylin Belair, coming in 69th place with a time of 21:00. Senior Ari Fisher, in her third appearance at the national meet, was the third Rocket finisher, placing 76th in 21:03. Rounding out the scoring five were sophomore Megan Vogelsong (113th place; 21:22) and junior Kristal Studer (176th place; 22:00).
Toledo's sixth and seventh runners, respectively, were freshman Priscilla Timmons (205th place; 22:37) and sophomore Jessica Phillips (214th place; 23:14).
"We did a great job of keeping our composure," said head coach Kevin Hadsell. "We handled the crowd and the brutal pace. For us to exceed our ranking and beat a lot of very good programs was very satisfying."
The Rockets entered the season with a preseason ranking of No. 27 in the country, but gradually fell out of the rankings due to lower-than-expected finishes that resulted from injuries to several key runners. The team gained a major late-season boost when Fisher, a 2010 All-American and two-time individual MAC champion, returned prior to the MAC championship race on Oct. 29.
After securing its second MAC title in a row, and fourth in program history, Toledo entered the Great Lakes Region championship meet listed in the "Others Receiving Votes" section of the national coaches poll. The team's third-place finish at the regional meet garnered its second-consecutive at-large bid to the NCAAs, and marked the second time in program history that the entire team qualified for the national meet. UT went into the NCAA Championships ranked 24th in the county.
Toledo is in great position to continue its run of success at the conference, regional and national levels for years to come, as the team will return eight of its top 10 runners from this season. Additionally, they will welcome the return of 2010 All-MAC runners, junior Devyn Ramsay and sophomore Megan Wright, who redshirted this year.
"We ran without some very good women that were redshirted," Hadsell said. "We will take a break and turn our attention to the track. We want to start preparing for a potential three-peat and a third-straight NCAA appearance in the 2012 season!"