The University of Chicago Women’s Cross Country team blew away the competition on Saturday, Oct. 27, winning the University Athletic Association Conference Championship with a team score of 37.
Second place team New York University had 96 points.
The win was a major accomplishment for the team, which last won a UAA title in Women’s Cross Country in 1993. Four UChicago runners placed in the top 10, and senior Julia Sizek was the top UChicago runner, finishing second overall with a time of 21.57.7 for the 6K course.
“This was a team effort,” said Chris Hall, Women’s Cross Country team coach. “All 10 women competing in the race subscribed to the same strategy and immediately moved to the front of the race. The key was that they worked together and continued to push the pace throughout the middle portion of the meet.”
The Chicago women’s team has now won four of its seven Cross Country meets this year, with two additional runner-up finishes. Chicago rounded out its top seven finishers with Maggie Cornelius in 16th (22:52.3), Catherine Young in 17th (22:54.5) and Sarah Peluse in 24th (23:08.4).
“What I am most proud of this year isn’t our overall record but the fact that we have only been defeated by one Division III school,” Hall said. “Having the opportunity to compete against a lot of Division I schools has tested our squads and pushed us forward.”
Three of the top 10 finishers, Sizek, Elise Wummer who finished fifth in 22:36.6, and Michaela Whitelaw, who finished sixth in 22:37.0, were named First Team All-UAA. Brianna Hickey, who finished eighth in 22:40.5, earned Second Team All-UAA and UAA Rookie of the Year honors. Head Coach Chris Hall and his assistant coaches were also named UAA Coaching Staff of the Year for Women’s Cross Country.
“This win and these honors mean a lot to the team,” Hall said. “During the last 19 years, we’ve had a number of great teams that have competed in the NCAAs, but the conference is really tough. To come out on top of a field that had six nationally-ranked teams is special for this group and for our alumni.”
The next Women’s Cross Country team event will take place at noon on Saturday, Nov. 10, at the NCAA Midwest Regional in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.