VALPARAISO, Ind. –The No. 8 Olivet Nazarene University women’s cross country has quite an impressive streak going. When the team captured the 2013 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) Championship on Saturday, Nov. 9 at the Sunset Hill Community Park in Valparaiso, Ind. it was their fourth consecutive title. Their male counterparts also captured the title, making it a Tiger sweep for the first time since 2007.
Led by freshman Sarah Ray’s (Warsaw, Ind.) second place finish, the Tigers placed five runners in the top 10. Olivet’s top runners averaged 18:14.3 compared to second place University of St. Francis’ (Ill.) 18:55.0. Judson University (Ill.) rounded out the top three, averaging 19:12.6. The win gives the Tigers an automatic bid to the NAIA National Championships in Lawrence, Kan. on Nov. 23.
Ray, named the CCAC Freshman of the Year, crossed the finish line in 17:51.3. St. Francis’ Hilary Halford crossed just ahead at 17:42.4. Junior Leah Livingston (Gibson City, Ill.) finished sixth overall with a 18:05.8. Senior Becca Garst (Peotone, Ill.) posted a 18:15.5 to finish sixth, while freshman Elizabeth Soper (Grand Rapids, Mich.) and sophomore Bethany Pilat (Livonia, Mich.) finished back-to-back at nine and ten with times of 18:27.8 and 18:31.3 respectively. The Tigers were the only team to have all five runners finish under 19 minutes in the 11 team field.
Olivet will now begin training for the NAIA National Championship. This year’s event hosted by Lawrence Sports Corp. at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, Kan. A year ago, the Tiger returned with a third place trophy. This year, they look to improve on that placement.