Aquinas Women - Saints Return to the Podium
Provided by Aquinas
The women's cross country team made it back-to-back podium finishes on Saturday as the Saints brought home a fourth place trophy from the 2016 NAIA National XC Championships. The annual championships were contested on the grounds of North Farms Cross Country Course in Elsah, Illinois.
Brithish Columbia claimed the team title as they totaled 90 points. The Saints, who matched their 2015 4th place finish at Nationals, tallied 180 points to find themselves on the podium. The performance ties the highest ever finish by an Aquinas College women's athletic team at Nationals and also ties the third highest finish overall in school history (2004 Men's XC - 2nd, 2008 Men's XC - 3rd, and 2015 Women's XC - 4th). A model of consistency all year, the Saints showed their strength as the pack once again proved vital to the team success.
A :53 time gap 1-5 provided the Saints with enough punch up front to find themselves near the top of the leaderboard. The pack was driven today by the All-American efforts of Melissa Winchester (SO/Middleville, Michigan) and Kathy Middaugh (SR/Newyago, Mich.). The sophomore from Middleville placed 21st in a personal best time of 17:43 to become the fifth Saint in program history to be crowned All-American. Middaugh, who earned her second All-American honor in cross country, also set a personal best as she finished in 29th place in a time of 17:50. Kathy joins Amanda Strouse as the only two women in Aquinas history to garner multiple All American honors in cross country. A great 3-4 punch was provided by Adri Sigafoose (JR/McBain, Mich.) and Molly Peregrine (JR/Traverse City, Mich.). Sigafoose placed 37th in a time of 18:03, while Peregrine clocked a 18:14 and finished in 49th place finish . The final scoring position was filled by Alexis Miller (SO/Caledonia, Michigan) who recorded an 18:36 and secured the 4th place finish as she crossed in 82nd place. Aquinas showed their depth as both Abby Heiler (SR/St. Charles, Mich.) (19:00) and Sydney Anderson (SR/Livonia, Mich.) (19:10) turned in solid performances in the final xc race as Saints.
Aquinas also broke their team time record by 2:04. After setting it at the 2015 NAIA Championships (92:32), the Saints lowered the gold standard to 90:28 at today's championships. The women's program has now finished in the top nine at Nationals in four of the past five seasons and will look to build upon the success of 2016 in the future.