Pipestem, W.Va. -- West Virginia Wesleyan's women's cross country team raced to the school's first league title in the newly formed Mountain East Conference Saturday morning at Pipestem State Park. The Lady Bobcats placed six women in the top 10, and all ten runners in the top 15.
Wesleyan's women posted a team score of 20 points, outdistancing runner-up Wheeling Jesuit who recorded a point total of 55. There are 11 women's teams in the Mountain East, and a total of 76 women finished.
Freshman Naomi Underwood led the charge, racing to the individual title, covering the 6000-meter layout in 24:14. She earned Runner of the Year and also Rookie of the Year honors. She was followed closely by teammates Erica Walker (2nd, 24:23), Loren McDaniel (3rd, 24:36), Racheal Hulett (6th, 24:45), Emma Harrison (8th, 25:03), and Brianna Waybright (10th, 25:19). Freshman Rachel Pinto led the pack of Bobcats that also placed in the top 15 placing 11th in 25:20. She was followed by Baylee Summers (12th, 25:27), Makena Haney (13th, 26:00), and Ali Cunningham (15th, 26:22).
Wesleyan's men finished second with 46 points. Wheeling Jesuit won the title with 27 points. There are nine men's teams in the league, and the race had 71 total finishers.
Three Bobcats placed in the top 10, led by league Rookie of the Year Wes Stowers. Stowers placed fifth, covering the 8000-meter layout in 27:09. Brody He was followed by Brody Born (8th, 27:30), and Nathan Whitacre (9th, 27:45). Junior Derrick Chaffin led a group of three other Bobcats that placed in the top 20. Chaffin finished 11th in 27:58. Andrew Knotts placed 13th (28:01), and Marcus Black 20th (28:26).
Head coach Jesse Skiles was named Coach of the Year after the Women's win. When congratulated on his award Skiles said "It's nice to be recognized, but it's these amazing athletes who deserve all the credit."
"The Championship was a great experience," said Skiles. "The support from alumni and current athletes was overwhelming."
The 'Cat's are now waiting to hear if they will be competing in NCAA Regionals Saturday Novemeber 9 at Lockhaven.