The Penn State women rode the momentum from their recent regional championship to a 14th place finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championships Saturday in Louisville, Ky.
Oregon ultimately won the women’s national championship with 114 points. Penn State earned 387 points to finish second among Big Ten schools at the meet, with only Michigan finishing ahead of them with a fifth-place result
Junior Victoria Perri, who was running in her first national championships, was the first Nittany Lion to complete the 6,000-meter course with her 47th-place overall.
Perri saved her best performance of the season for last, running the course in 20:21.4, which is personal record for her. The junior capped off her surprising season by becoming one of only five runners to finish in the top 50 overall for Penn State in the women’s national championship race since 1998.
Junior Rebekka Simko, another newcomer to the national championships, finished second on the team and 71st overall with a time of 20:35.5.
Simko was followed by seniors Brooklyne Ridder and Natalie Bower, who finished third and fourth for the Lions. Both Ridder and Bower have now become the sixth and seventh athletes in Penn State history to run in the national championships four times.
Sam Masters was the only runner on the men’s team to represent Penn State at the meet. He finished his cross country career with a time of 32:25.9 on the 10,000-meter course to earn 231st overall in the men’s race.
Prior to the meet, coach Beth Alford-Sullivan accepted her Mid-Atlantic Region Coach of the Year award during the NCAA Cross Country Banquet.
The Penn State program now will look towards the indoor track and field season that starts Dec. 15 with the Blue-White Intrasquad Meet.