Courtesy of Elizabethtown Athletic Communications
In her final collegiate cross country race, Colleen Kernan made it count as she represented the Elizabethtown College women's cross country team at the 2018 NCAA Division III XC Championships at Lake Breeze Golf Club. Kernan ended with the best finish of her career at the national meet.
Through the first split, which was a little over 2k, Kernan was sitting in 49th as she crossed the timing mat in 8:28.0. The next split, at the 3k mark, Kernan was 11:05.4 into her 6,000-meter race and now in 60th.
The third-place runner from this year's Landmark Conference meet capped off her career with a 110th-place finish in 22:37.7 out of the 279-runner field.
Washington U. in St. Louis won the women's national championship by one point over two-time defending champion, Johns Hopkins. It was the closest national championship victory since 2006.
On the men's side, Junior Samuel Gerstenbacher got his first taste of NCAA cross country action on Saturday at Lake Breeze Golf Club. Gerstenbacher took part in his very first NCAA DIII XC Championships and took 83rd for the Elizabethtown College men's cross country team.
Not long after the start of the race, Gerstenbacher and several other competitors around him took a fall that slowed up the early portions of his race. Through the first timing split, he was in 169th out of a 280-man field.
After being 171st at the second split, Gerstenbacher manuevered his way up to 134th by the third and 124th by the fourth. Coming into the final stretch of the 8,000-meter championship race, the Landmark Conference champion was in 104th and hustled his way up to 83rd by the time he crossed the finish line. Gerstenbacher finished in 25:29.7.
North Central (Ill.) won its third straight men's XC championship and 19th overall. North Central College also had the top two individual runners, the first time since 1996 that the feat has been achieved by the national champion.