SMWC junior takes first place at USCAA national championship, team places third overall

November 11th, 2011 | SMWC

Stephanie Runyon, 2011 USCAA Cross Country National Champion

Blinding snow and freezing temperatures couldn’t stop Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) junior Stephanie Runyon, an education major from Noblesville, Ind., from becoming the 2011 USCAA Cross Country National Champion. The team as a whole slammed the competition, taking third place, with most runners finishing in the top 50.

“It was an awesome experience today, but it was a physically tough race,” said Runyon, who beat more than 130 other runners in 25:16.46 minutes. The freezing weather and steep hills made for a more challenging course. “We’ve never run in anything like this before,” said Cross Country Coach Danelle Readinger. 

The women ran a hard race, pounding the ground in true Pomeroy style on a 6k cross country ski course at the U.S. Olympic training facility in Lake Placid, N.Y. The runners took off at 11 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 11, 2011, competing against 26 other institutions.

“The competition nearly doubled this year,” Readinger said. “Finishing third is amazing. All in all it has been a great day.” The team took the national title in 2009, with SMWC student Mannie Bizuneh in first place, and also in 2010, when Logan Fry won the championship.

“I’m just going to enjoy the moment with my team,” Runyon said. “The team finishing in third place is so awesome.”

SMWC had eight athletes participating in the race: C.J. Barnett, Kat Williams, Logan Fry, Danika Espinoza, Corianna Frederick, Jen Hughes and Lauren Sutton. Runyon was also named All American.

“I am so privileged to coach such talented, smart girls,” Readinger said. “They stay on top, stay strong and they love what they do.”

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