St. Louis, Mo., August 1, 2019 – The Washington University in St. Louis women's cross country team picked up its second ever national title during the 2018 NCAA Division III Cross Country National Championship in Winneconne, Wis., edging out the reigning back-to-back national champion Johns Hopkins by a single point.
WashU entered the 6K course as the second ranked team in the country but utilized a conservative strategy that saved precious energy for the final stretch of the race. The Bears were in fourth place at the first distance marker before moving into second place at the midway point. Despite, moving into second place WashU continued to have its work cut out for itself, trailing Johns Hopkins 77-190.
The Bears pulled within 16 points at the final marker which signaled one kilometer remaining. Junior Paige Lawler took the lead at that point before securing the first individual national title in program history with a time of 20:55.0.
Three Bears joined Lawler with All-American finishes, including graduate Aly Wayne, junior Sophie Watterson and senior Lisa Gorham. Wayne had a personal-best placement at nationals, finishing seventh (21:12.6) while Watterson (21:31.2) and Gorham (21:49.6) claimed the first All-American honors of their respective careers.
The fifth and final time to count for the Bears came from senior Molly Shepherd. She ran an inspired race and dropped nearly 20 seconds from her previous career-best time. Shepherd crossed the finish line in 22:24.3 which clinched WashU's 23rd overall team title in school history, by a score of 98-99.
#1 - WashU Claims Epic Cross Country National Championship
#2 - WashU Totals Six Individual National Championships
#3 - WashU Finishes Third in Directors' Cup
#4 - WashU Wins Eight UAA Titles
#5 - Record Finishes for MXC, MSwim & MITF
#6 - Women's Soccer Undefeated Regular Season/Final Four
#7 - John Howard named National Pitcher of the Year
#8 - Women's XC/TF Named Top Program in Division III
#9 - Historic Baseball Season
#10 - Alison Lindsay Named NCAA Top-10 Award winner