William Woods women’s cross country places 19th at NAIA National Championships

Courtesy of William Woods University Athletics. (Contributed Photo)

William Woods women's cross country team placed 19th out of 36 at Friday's NAIA National Cross Country National Championships in Tallahassee, Florida. Two runners finished in the top 65, and six of the seven runners marked down new personal bests.

The Owls' 19th place finish with 488 points is the second-best WWU finish at an NAIA National Championships. In 2006, the Owls placed 16th with 447 points.

The Owls totaled a one-hour, 35-minute, 17.8-second time with an average of 19:03.56 5,000-meter time.


Alicia Engelbrecht and Ellie Dimond put their names all over the WWU women's cross-country record book. Mekayla Gibson and Mary Grover also placed their names in the NAIA National Championships section of the record book.

Engelbrecht recorded the fastest time in WWU history at an NAIA national championship and the fourth fastest WWU time in program history. Her 62nd-place finish was the third-highest finish in WWU history at an NAIA national championship.

Dimon was just behind Engelbrecht with the second-fastest time in WWU history at an NAIA national championship and the fifth-fastest time overall. Her 64th-place finish was the fourth-highest in WWU history at an NAIA national championship.

Gibson's 18:59.0 time placed her with the fifth fastest time at an NAIA National Championship, and her 11th-place finish is tied for the 10th-highest finish.

Grover tied for ninth fastest NAIA National Championships time.

How it happened

Engelbrecht crossed the line first for the Owls with an 18:31.0 time, marking down a new personal record. After the first 2,000 meters, she sat in 58th place with a 9:40.6 time. She dropped 15 spots at the 4K mark but moved up 11 spots to finish in 62nd.

Dimond crossed just .3 seconds behind Engelbrecht for an 18:31.3 time, marking down a new PR. She sat in 112th place following the first marker and moved up 27 spots over the next 800 meters. She moved up seven more spots by the 4K mark to sit in 78th and pushed up 14 more spots to finish out the 5K in 64th.

Gibson recorded a new PR with her 18:59.0 time. At the 2,000-meter mark, she sat in 115th place. Just over the halfway mark, she moved up eight places and had a 9:56.3 time. In the second half of the race, she dropped four places to finish in 111th.

Grover shaved over 16 seconds off her previous best to finish in 19:30.1. She sat in 242nd at the first marker, and by the 2,800-meter mark, she moved up 27 places with a 10:18.0 time. She continued to climb, and by the finish, she moved up 42 more places for a 173rd finish.

Crystal Ruden finishes in 217th place with a 19:46.5 time. At the halfway point, she sat in 189th place but dropped in the second half of the race.

Faith Gerling set a new lifetime best after shaving 16 seconds off for a 20:09.0 final time. She sat in 282nd place after the 2K mark, and by the halfway point, she was in 272nd with a 10:34.2 time. She climbed 20 more places in the second half, finishing in 252nd.

Tara Lowe finished in 20:58.4, setting a new PR by 22 seconds. She placed 296th overall.

WWU results

62 - Engelbrecht - 18:31.0 (PR)

64 - Dimond - 18:31.3 (PR)

111 - Gibson - 18:59.0 (PR)

173 - Grover - 19:30.1 (PR)

217 - Ruden - 19:46.5

252 - Gerling - 20:09.0 (PR)

296 - Lowe - 20:58.4 (PR)