Team results in Cross Country are the addition of the placements of the top five runners, thus the lower your score the better. Runners who don't finish in the top five for the team, do not "score" for the team, but their placement in the field does matter because they can displace runners from other teams. Saturday at the Mid-South Conference Championship in Bowling Green, KY, the Life U Cross Country team finished third as a team, beating out the University of the Cumberlands by a single point. It was Life U's sixth and seventh runners who made their placements count and allow the Running Eagles to capture third.
On a picturesque race course, the ladies shook off the crisp November weather and pushed through to make every runner count:
Cora Atkinson finished 10th overall with a time of 19:45.
Elizabeth Skipper was 19th with a time of 20:30.
Jaichelle Thomas came in just two spots behind in 21st place at 20:45.
Victoria Favela-Parra pushed hard to captured 29th, clocking in at 21:30.
Stephanie Estrada capped the team scoring, running 21:39 to take 31st place.
This gave Life U a team total of 110. But the University of the Cumberlands' fifth runner had yet to cross the line, and her placement would decide which team took 3rd place. Needing to push her placement down, the Running Eagles needed their 6th and 7th runner to finish ahead of the Cumberlands runner. And that's exactly what happened as Annie Diaz (22:20) and Rachel Taylor (22:32) with a phenomenal sprint at the end displaced the Cumberlands' runner to allow Life U to win by one point. Mariana Sanchez put in a gritty performance to finish in 22:54, and Abby Elbaum finished in 23:20 - both finishing ahead of several scoring runners from other teams as well.
"We had a goal of finishing second coming in," said Head Coach Cathy Faust. "But it was a great day for us! We were sixth last year and we moved up to third this year. It was a great team effort, coming down to our fifth through seventh runners. We battled hard and I'm so proud of these ladies!"