Bourbonnais, Ill. – Behind an impressive individual win by senior Rachael Dean (Lindenhurst, Ill./Judson University/Lakes), the No. 20 ranked Saint Xavier University women's cross country team took second place at the 2011 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) Cross Country Championships Saturday in Bourbonnais, Ill. The win helped the team move up one spot in the final NAIA Women's Cross Country Coaches' Top 25 Poll to No. 20 and the Cougars were able to secure one of the eight at-large bids to run at the 2011 NAIA Cross Country National Championships on Saturday, November 19, at the Vancouver Historic Site in Vancouver, Wash. Dean won the conference meet with a time of 18:12 over the 5K (5,000 meters) race. Freshman Elise Prieto (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg) also ran well for SXU finishing in seventh place with a career-best time of 18:49, 45 seconds faster than her previous best.
"I am so excited for my team, because I know how hard they have worked to get to this point," said Saint Xavier University women's cross country team coach Lisa Ebel. "This will be the fourth time in the last five years that we have gone as a team to the national meet, so I know that our girls will be focused and ready to compete. I was very proud of our team at Saturday's conference meet. Rachael and Elise both had amazing individual performances."
In addition to Dean and Prieto, senior Jackie Ott (Island Lake, Ill./Marian Central Catholic) and junior Ashley Shares (Palos Park, Ill./Moraine Valley CC/Stagg) came in at 13thand 14thplace, respectively, at 19:21 and 19:23. Sophomore Jordan Wallace (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way North) completed the scoring for the Cougars Saturday in 20thplace with a time of 19:41. Olivet Nazarene, the NAIA's No. 6 ranked team, won the CCAC meet with 32 points, while SXU totaled 55 points to claim the No. 2 spot. University of St. Francis (Ill.) took third place as a team with 99 points.
Saint Xavier heads to the NAIA Cross Country National Championships on Saturday, November 19, in Vancouver, Wash. The women's race is scheduled for a 1:45 p.m. (central) start.