TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Senior Diana Jepchirchir (Kampala, Uganda/University of New Orleans) ran perhaps the best race of her career on Saturday as Coastal Carolina's women's cross country team competed at the NCAA Pre-Nationals held in Terre Haute, Ind., the site of the 2007 NCAA Cross Country Championships. Jepchirchir ran a sizzling 20:24.6 in the 6K race, finishing sixth out of 259 runners, to set a new Coastal Carolina and Big South record in the 6K and led the Lady Chanticleers to a 24th place finish in the overall team standings of the Blue Race.
"She beat several All-Americans," Head Coach Alan Connie said. "Just like Julia Viellehner at last year's NCAA Championship race, someone stepped on the back of Diana's shoe and it came off about 300 meters into the race. She virtually ran the race with one spike. Today was a big breakthrough for Diana."
Junior Felicitas Mensing (Neuhausen, Germany/Leplergy Secondary School) crossed the finish line next for the Lady Chants, completing the race in a time of 21:28.2 and finishing 77th. Redshirt freshman Maranie Staab (Trafford, Pa./Penn Trafford) added a 167th finish with a time of 22:26.9. Sophomore Theresa Schamberger (Kendalville, Ind./East Noble)) was 189th with a time of 22:45.7. Rounding out the Lady Chants were senior Aubrey Bergquist (Pataskala, Ohio/Watkins Memorial) in 208th with a time of 23:02.3 and junior Keli-Jo White (Wadsworth, Ohio/Wadsworth) in 245th with a time of 24:23.1.
Stanford won the Blue Race title with 102 points. Meanwhile, Florida State's Susan Kuijken finished first with a time of 19:56.
In addition to racing at the NCAA Pre-Nationals, Coastal also sent a "B" squad down to the Low Country Invitational in Johns Island, S.C. Coastal placed second out of three teams with 37 points. Freshman Shelby Donahue (Griswold, Conn./Griswold) paced the Lady Chants with a second-place 19:38 finish in the 5K race. Senior Nikki Jasperson (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers) crossed the finish line next for Coastal, completing the race in a time of 20:09 and placing fifth. Coastal's remaining four runners finished back-to-back. Sophomore Peggy Busbee (Aiken, S.C./Aiken) was ninth with a time of 21:01, while freshman Joyce Curtin (Killeagh, Ireland/Colaiste Eoin) was 10th in a time of 21:23. Rounding out the Lady Chants were sophomore Kathryn Zenowitz (Groton Long Point, Conn./Robert E. Fitch) in 11th (21:43) and freshman Kate Taber (Virginia Beach, Va./Bishop Sullivan) in 12th (21:48). The Citadel won the meet with 22 points and were led Natalie Wolin, who won the race with time of 19:21.
Coastal next competes at the New Balance Big South Cross Country Championships. The meet will take place at 9 a.m. in Hendersonville, N.C.