Women's Cross Country Finishes Second at Conference Championships, Jepchirchir Wins Individual Title
HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. -- As senior Diana Jepchirchir (Kampala, Uganda/University of New Orleans) raced her way to the 2007 New Balance Big South Women's Cross Country individual crown and a Runner of the Year honor on Saturday, Oct. 27 at Jackson Park, Coastal Carolina came up just short in the team competition. The Lady Chanticleers finished second with 39 points as Liberty won its second New Balance Big South Women's Cross Country Championship with 36 points.
"It was a tremendous battle," Head Coach Alan Connie said. "Even though we were disappointed not to win the team title, I'm so proud of the team. They ran so tough today."
Jepchirchir won the 5K race in a time of 17:07.2, which is the second fastest time to be run at the championship meet. Jepchrichir also becomes the eighth different Lady Chant to win the individual title. In program history, Coastal has claimed 14 individual crowns.
Junior Felicitas Mensing (Neuhausen, Germany/Leplergy Secondary) finished third, clocking a time of 17:49.7. Redshirt freshman Maranie Staab (Trafford, Pa./Penn Trafford) took ninth with a time of 18:08.4, while sophomore Theresa Schamberger (Kendalville, Ind./East Noble) was 10th with a time of 18:11.2. Jepchirchir, Mensing, Staab and Schamberger all received All-Conference honors, which is awarded to the top 10 finishers at the Championship Meet.
Senior Aubrey Bergquist (Pataskala, Ohio/Watkins Memorial) placed 16th, crossing the finish line in a time of 18:43.3. Freshman Shelby Donahue (Griswold, Conn./Griswold) finished 25th (19.33.9) and senior Nikki Jasperson (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers) placed 32nd (19:47.6). Rounding out the Lady Chants were junior Keli-Jo White (Wadsworth, Ohio/Wadsworth) (40th, 20:06.8), freshman Joyce Curtin (Killeagh, Ireland/Colaiste Eoin) (49th, 20:38.7) and sophomore Peggy Busbee (Aiken, S.C./Aiken) (53rd, 21:24.0).
Following the race, the Big South also announced the Scholar-Athlete of the Year and the All-Academic Teams. Mensing was selected as the 2007 Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year. An applied mathematics major, Mensing is currently on track to graduate in three years. She was selected as the Big South Choice Hotels Women's Cross Country Runner of the Week on Sept. 6 after guiding the Lady Chants to a fourth place finish at the Covered Bridge Open. Her time at Saturday's championships marked the first time in her career she ran a sub-18:00 5K.
Coastal returns to action in two weeks when the Lady Chants compete at the NCAA Southeast Regionals in Louisville, Ky. The gun is scheduled to go off at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 10.