Vancouver, Wash. – Led by another All-American performance by senior Rachael Dean (Lindenhurst, Ill./Judson University/Lakes), the Saint Xavier University women's cross country team upstaged the team's current national ranking of No. 20 by finishing 16thoverall out of 32 teams competing at the 2011 NAIA Cross Country National Championships Saturday at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in Vancouver, Wash. It was the highest ever national finish for the program. Dean also claimed NAIA All-American honors last season when she finished 12thoverall at the national meet. This year, she finished the 5K (5,000 meters) race in 25thplace out of 323 runners with a time of 18:18.
"What a great way to end a great season," said Saint Xavier University women's cross country team coach Lisa Ebel. "Rachael had another amazing race and I was so excited she was able to finish out her cross country career with another All-American award. I am so proud of this team. They really wanted to come out, run hard and make a statement at Nationals this year. This was a huge step forward for our program."
Other key finishers for SXU Saturday were junior Ashley Shares (Palos Park, Ill./Moraine Valley CC/Stagg) in 79thplace with a time of 19:15 and freshman Elise Prieto (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg) at No. 126 with a 19:38 clocking. Senior Jackie Ott (Island Lake, Ill./Marian Central Catholic) was the fourth Cougar across the finish line in 181stplace with a time of 19:55. Sophomore Jordan Wallace (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way North) wrapped up the team scoring for SXU Saturday at No. 204 with a time of 20:07. Olivet Nazarene University, one of the Cougars' main rivals in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC), took sixth place overall Saturday at the 2011 NAIA Cross Country National Championships.