by Nathaniel Zinn for MSNsportsNET.com
November 19, 2007
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The No. 13 West Virginia University cross country team placed ninth with 375 points at the 2007 NCAA Championship in Terre Haute, Ind., today. The top 10 finish is the highest in school history.
“I’m just thrilled with this performance today,” 2007 Mid-Atlantic Coach of the Year Sean Cleary says. “Every team that is participating at this race is truly a national class program. To be in the top 10 with this team’s first appearance at the NCAAs is very special to me.”
In the team scoring, West Virginia was led by sophomore Marie-Louise Asselin, who finished 14th with a time of 20:39. Sophomore Keri Bland was the second Mountaineer to cross in 23rd at 20:58.
Asselin and Bland were named first team All-Americans, marking the first time the program has ever had multiple All-Americans in the same year. Asselin and Bland join Charity Wachera (1997) and Megan Metcalfe (2002, 2004) as the only All-Americans in school history.
Other Mountaineers counting towards the team score included sophomores Clara Grandt, Maria Dalzot and Mandy McBean. Grandt placed 52nd in 21:23. Dalzot crossed the line in 21:58 for 121st place and McBean finished 165th (22:30).
Stanford picked up another national title in first with 145 points. Oregon was second (177), Florida State was third (236), Arizona State was fourth (251) and Michigan State took fifth (321). Texas Tech’s Sally Kipyego repeated as the individual national champion.
It was the Mountaineers’ fourth time at nationals with the previous highest finish being 15th back in 2004. This BIG EAST champion squad did not have one senior in its top seven starting lineup all year and all five counting times were sophomores today.
“This team never ceases to amaze me,” Cleary says. “Through adversity, we find ways to get the job done. The future of West Virginia distance running looks to be very secure.”