June 20, 2019 | 74° F

Rutgers finishes season 12th overall at NCAA Championships

The Rutgers women’s cross country team closed out the 2018 season Friday afternoon at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Mid-Atlantic Regional Cross Country Championships, hosted by Penn State. The championship women’s 6k race was held on the Blue and White Golf Course.

The Scarlet Knights placed 12th overall in the 6k race with a total time of 1:53:15. Sophomore Olympia Martin led the pack as she has in prior races.

The event was won by Villanova with a total time of 1:46:34. Princeton came in second place with a 1:47:47 time and Penn State placed third with a 1:48:15 time.

Rutgers competed against other runners from Navy, who finished in 16th place, American and Seton Hall.

Martin finished in 37th place out of a field of 205 runners. She clocked in at 22:06 with a pace of 5:55. 

Four Knights who made the top 100 included sophomore Kiera Nealon with a time of 22:30 for 60th place, junior Nadia Saponara with a time of 22:33 for 63rd place, junior Lou Mialhe with a time of 23:02 for 95th place and junior Stephanie Mauer with a time of 23:04 for 98th place.

“I performed well, so it was a good race for me," Saponara said. "I ran with different teammates most of the race and worked together to pass other girls, which definitely helped us get some points."

Forty seconds behind Mauer was junior Emma Bergman, who clocked in at 23:49 and finished in 137th place. 

The last Rutgers runner to cross the finish line was sophomore Kaitlyn Bragen, at 24:05, placing 154th overall.

“It wasn’t the perfect day or perfect conditions by any standards, but it was a good effort,” Bergman said.

The Knights were unable to reach their goal of getting into the top 10 for the championship because they couldn't close the time gap between the top-five runners, missing by two places.

The race was set in terrible weather conditions with rainfall and cold temperatures. This added to the difficulties for the competing teams. 

“I think the ladies did a good job competing in the treacherous weather conditions. It was an absolute cold, rainy, muddy and miserable day to compete. I take my hat off to them for persevering through those conditions,” said head coach James Robinson. 

The race over the weekend concludes the rest of the fall cross country season for Rutgers. It will get an active rest and will train for the upcoming indoor track and field season. 

Bergman, Martin and the rest of the girls who have competed in the NCAA Regional Championship will be training again next week and will prepare for the winter season throughout 2018. The Knights' first indoor track meet will be the Great Dane Classic on Jan. 12, in Staten Island, N.Y.

“We have a little time off before we start getting ready for the winter season," Bergman said. "I am proud of everything we have accomplished throughout the fall season, but I’m looking forward to bringing my ability into track and field."

For updates on the Rutgers women's cross country team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

Cailee Oliver

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