BOSTON, Mass. – The Simmons College women's cross country team tied for the lowest score at the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championship, but due to a tie-breaker, finished second in the title race to Norwich University this afternoon at historic Franklin Park in Dorchester, Mass.
The Sharks and the Cadets both finished with 50 points on the day. Norwich was crowned the champion based on head-to-head finishes between the top five finishers on each squad.
Despite the runner-up status for the second straight year, Simmons finished with the lowest total time of 1:42.29 on the five-kilometer course and was the only squad to place five runners among the top 14 and seven among the top 19. The Sharks also saw 12 runners turn in personal-record times on the day.
University of Saint Joseph senior Kaneen Gomez-Hixson won the individual title with a time of 19:54 as the only runner on the day to break the 20-minute barrier and was named the GNAC Runner of the Year.
Sophomore Samantha Jaffe (Fayetteville, N.Y.) was the top finisher for Simmons with a time of 20:14 to place sixth and better her personal-record mark by 16 seconds. Graduate student Kara MacLean (Braintree, Mass.) was two steps behind at 20:16 to place seventh to earn both Jaffe and MacLean First Team All-Conference status by virtue of a top-seven finish in the race.
Sophomore Sarah Bohan (Guilford, Conn.) clocked in at 20:23 to finish 10th overall, while senior Mia DeLuccia (Lynnfield, Mass.) finished 13th with a personal-record time of 20:47 to best her previous top time by 25 seconds. Classmate Sara Harland (Pembroke, Mass.) improved her top mark by 30 seconds with a time of 20:49 to finish 14th overall. Bohan, DeLuccia and Harland all land a spot on the GNAC Second Team for their finishes to give the Sharks a league-high five runners on the All-Conference squad.
First year Emily Freeman (Haverhill, Mass.) just missed All-Conference accolades by a second for Simmons with a time of 20:50 to shave 11 ticks off her personal best and finish 15th, while junior Allegra Egizi (Beverly, Mass.) placed 19th with a time of 21:09.
First year Kearsten Pichette (Hooksett, N.H.) continued the Sharks trend of setting personal-best times with a mark of 21:16, which was seven seconds better than her previous best and good enough for 22nd place, while classmate Emily Josephson (Rochester, Mass.) finished 24th with a time of 21:30 to cut nine seconds off her previous record time and give Simmons nine competitors with marks under 22 minutes.
Senior Kaitlyn Maloney (Amherst, N.H.) made her last GNAC Championship race her best, smashing her previous record time by 55 seconds at 22:13 to place 34th with classmate Bethanie Royality-Lindman (Wakefield, R.I.) right behind her at 22:14 to finish 35th. Sophomore Hannah Green (Blandford, Mass.) took three seconds off her best with a time of 22:25 to finish 42nd and classmate Carol Figueiredo (Norwood, Mass.) clocked in at 22:30 to finish in 44th and cut 43 seconds off her personal-record time.
Senior Madison Rivard (Sharon, Mass.) clocked in at 23:30 to place 56th, before first year Amelia Franklin (Bath, Maine) turned in a time of 23:43 to better her previous mark by a second and give her 61st place. The biggest improvement of the day for the Sharks came from sophomore Kathryn Nagle (Bangor, Mass.) who crushed her previous best by a full 90 seconds at 24:49 to place 73rd, while senior Hannah Hast (Bow, N.H.)clipped her previous record mark by a second at 25:05 to place 75th.
Simmons will run again on Saturday, November 12 at the NCAA Regionals on the 6K course of Stanley Park in Westfield, Mass.