Women’s Cross Country Places Fifth at NCAA Div. III Nationals

Seniors Monks, Wentz Finish in Top 30, Earn All-American Honors

In its second straight appearance at the NCAA Division III Championship, the MIT women’s cross country team improved to a fifth-place showing at Saturday’s national meet, hosted by Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio. Maria J. Monks ’10 and Jacqueline M. Wentz ’10 led the way for the Cardinal and Grey, as each earned All-American honors, the first such accolades for the program since 1998. Monks’ 13th-place finish marks the best individual effort at the NCAA Championship in school history.

Monks’s time of 22:29.5 easily eclipsed the previous Institute standard, a 26th-place showing by Debbie Won ’00 in 1998. Wentz also had an impressive performance, crossing the finish with a time of 22:43.6 and in 29th. Alina E. Gatowski ’11 (23:08.2) narrowly missed the top 50 with her 51st-place standing. Tania K. Morimoto ’12 came through the chute in 23:49.1, good for 128th overall. Brooke C. Johnson ’13’s time of 23:58.8 was good for 145th, and 23rd best among all freshmen at the meet.

The Cardinal and Grey was able to improve upon its 10th-place showing in 2008, the only other NCAA Championship appearance in program history, and finish among the top five teams in all of Division III. Tech finished just 10 points behind defending national champion Middlebury’s total of 245. The two teams shared the New England Regional title a week ago. Wisconsin-Eau Claire won the team Championship with 171 points. Wendy Pavlus of St. Lawrence was the individual winner, finishing in 21:28.0.

Coach Halston Taylor has developed the program into one of the top squads in New England and nationally. Although the Engineers will miss the senior leadership of Monks and Wentz, five of the top seven runners will return next year.