Best finish of decade

Seattle Pacific Women’s cross-country finishes 12th

Brandon Bee, Sports Writer

The Women’s Cross Country team at the beginning of the season
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Kosco

Seattle Pacific University Falcons finished in 12th place out of 34 teams as they concluded the season at the NCAA Division II Championships. It was the team’s best finish since they placed fourth in 2009 at the Championships in Evansville, Indiana.

The Falcons women’s cross-country team took the stage on Saturday in Sacramento, California where they competed in the NCAA Division II Championships 6-kilometer race.

In September, the women’s cross-country team ran on the Arcade Creek Golf Course in Sacramento, which is the same course they ran on Saturday.

“Preparation came from their experience,” assistant coach Chris Reed said. “We ran on this course earlier in the year. Mental preparation. They had a proper belief in themselves and the ladies really responded to that.”

Junior Dania Holmberg led the Falcons by getting 21st place, helping her earn a place on the All-American Team this year. 

She had a team best of 20 minutes and 48.8 seconds. Holmberg improved from her 6-kilometer meet in September by shedding 29 seconds off of her time. Last year at the nationals, Holmberg finished 176th overall, which she improved on in this meet.

“She hasn’t had a disappointing race all season,” Reed said. “She put in an All-American effort every day at practice, in her recovery and in her nutrition. Her talent was going to carry her there.”

Senior Kate Lilly was the Falcon’s second leading runner finishing in 51st place, improving on the 120th place run that she received a year ago. She had a running time of 21 minutes and 10.2 seconds. Lilly had improved from last year’s championship meet by jumping up nearly 70 more places than before.

Some other notable names running for the Falcons were all juniors and seniors except for one redshirt freshman. 

Senior Katherine Walter finished with a time of 21 minutes and 42.8 seconds which marks her at 104th place. Senior Sedona McNerney finished in 159th place with a time of 22 minutes and 15.8 seconds. Junior Elizabeth Thompson who ran to a 167th place finish with a time of 22 minutes and 23.4 seconds. Finally, freshman Kelsey Washenberger placed 201st with a running time of 22 minutes and 47.7 seconds.

With this being the team’s last meet before moving to indoor track and field, Reed reflected on what they can improve on for next season.

“We lose three seniors from that group,” Reed said. “It’s a big thing to overcome. Returners are coming back. Good recruits are coming in. Still more work to do.” 

According to Reed, next year’s team will have an adjustment period with new runners coming in and meshing with the women already on the team. 

Reed reflected on the season as a whole and how proud he is to share this season with these women. 

“It is a huge moment of pride for our program. Not a season that we scripted out. We can talk about the things that this team did, and it was a unique moment for all of us to overcome.”