Aquinas - #6 Saints Women Capture Fourth Straight WHAC Championships
Provided by Aquinas
The #6 Aquinas women's cross country team won its fourth consecutive WHAC Championship on Saturday afternoon (Nov. 4) at Riverside Park in Grand Rapids. Melissa Winchester (JR/Middleville, Michigan) also took home individual honors as the first-place finisher and led a pack of three Saints in the top-10, while all seven AQ runners finished in the top-20 to earn the conference title.
Aquinas has now won the WHAC Women's Cross Country championship in four straight years and eight times overall. The Saints have been league champions in 2005, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017.Despite less than ideal conditions, Aquinas' five scored runners all placed in the top-14 of the 5K race, giving the Saints a total team score of 38 points. Madonna earned the runner-up tally with 54 points and Cornerstone placed third overall with 93 points. Indiana Tech (115 points) and Siena Heights (140) rounded out the top-five schools.
Winchester continued her outstanding season, as she won her second consecutive race and finished in the top-three for the fifth time this year in as many competitions. Exactly two weeks ago on the same course, Winchester won the NAIA Great Lakes Challenge in a time of 18:11. Her time on Saturday of 18:12 was good for first, but she was followed closely behind by Adri Sigafoose (SR/McBain, Mich.), as the senior notched a time of 18:16 in her last WHAC Championship cross country race.
The 1-2 duo was joined by another Saint in the top-10, as Janie Noah (SO/Middleville, Mich.) placed ninth with a time of 18:39. Meghan Rasch (SR/Santa Clarita, Cal.) finished in 12th place, crossing the line in 18:48, just three seconds ahead of Alexis Miller (JR/Caledonia, Michigan) and her time of 18:51 for a 14th place showing.
Molly Peregrine (SR/Traverse City, Mich.) and Whitney Taylor (FR/Mount Pleasant, Mich.) finished 18th and 19th, respectively, as Peregrine's time was 19:17 and Taylor crossed the line in 19:26.
With the individual victory, Winchester was tabbed the WHAC Runner of the Year and named to the All-WHAC First Team, as was Sigafoose. Noah, Rasch, and Miller all earned All-WHAC Second Team honors for their performances on Saturday. Mike Wojciakowski was honored as the WHAC Women's Cross Country Coach of the Year.
Noah was also a recipient of the WHAC Champions of Character award. Winchester, Sigafoose, Noah, Miller, Angela Maurer (JR/Williamston, Mich.), and Ashlee Thayer (SR/Newaygo, Mich.) all received All-WHAC Academic Team honors.
On Nov. 18, AQ will head to Fort Vancouver, Wash. for the NAIA National Championships. The Saints have finished fourth in the national competition in each of the last two years.