COLMAR MANOR, Md. --- The Moravian College women's cross country squad was the runner-up at the 2019 Landmark Conference Championships hosted by The Catholic University of America at Colmar Manor Community Park in Maryland Saturday morning.
The Greyhounds scored 57 points, finishing eight points behind Elizabethtown College. For the second straight fall, junior Natalie Novotni was named the Landmark Conference Female Runner of the Year for winning the 6,000-meter race in a time of 23:03.43 to capture a spot on the All-Conference First Team.
"We knew Natalie had a shot to win but also had a lot of competition," stated Direcor of Cross Country and Track & Field Jesse Baumann. "Erin Reese and Melissa Fitzgibbon have been having exceptional seasons so we knew they'd be tough to beat. We wanted to be cautious especially since we were in the running to win as a team, so we discussed being conservative through the first 3k, letting others dictate how hard she needed to run, and then responding to moves. In the last 2k or so, it was down to Fitzgibbon and Natalie. She was patient, stayed relaxed, and when she hit a few hills about 600m before the finish she made a decisive move to create a gap which she then sustained to the end. We're exceptionally proud of how Natalie performed. With the track season that Fitzgibbon had, and the way Reese and others have excelled this fall it was not going to be easy to repeat, but Natalie remained steady and confident. She's beating people who are going to be in contention to qualify for NCAAs in two weeks, so it's exciting to know she'll be in the mix two weeks from now."
"Carly came down with a bit of a flu bug on Thursday night, and Grace has been battling a hip injury we've been nursing with a lot of swimming the last two weeks so both had a lot of adversity they've had to juggle going into Saturday," noted Baumann." With that said, they both did all they could to position themselves against some of the key runners they needed to compete with and fought as long as their bodies let them. Neither were at 100% but they both fought as hard as they could and we couldn't be prouder of the effort they put in."
Sophomore Emma Marion placed 15th in 24:14.28 while senior Katie Mayer finished 18th in the race with a time of 24:25.29 to round out the Greyhounds top five. The Hounds had four other Top 30 finishes in the 82-runner field with senior Ashley Rohrer in 23rd at 24:41.76. sophomore Rachael McCoach placing 24th with a time of 24:42.83, sophomore Santina Burak taking 25th in 24:42.97 and junior Nora Grimm in 30th with a time of 25:01.63.
Moravian has a week off before competing in the 2019 NCAA Division III Mideast Regional being hosted by Muhlenberg College on the Goodman Campus of Lehigh University on Saturday, November 16.