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By Tony Perez, HPU Athletics. December 1, 2014 - 11:52 am
The Hawai’i Pacific Women’s Cross Country Team turned in the best performance in program history at the NCAA West Region Race, finishing seventh overall out of 24 teams. Although the team narrowly missed advancing to the national meet, Fiona McKenna advanced as an individual after coming in fourth place in the 167 runner field.
The cold weather didn’t affect the Dublin native, McKenna, who led the shiver of Sharks in the women’s 6k race with a time of 21:22. Her impressive performance made her the second qualifier to run in the national race in two weeks. The next Shark to cross the finish line was senior Jamie Neal who ran a 22:10 for 25th place. They were joined by Marissa Kunsch (46th) and Gabrielle Wisot (84th). Shaking off injuries, Meghan Fairchild (42nd), Evelina Maansson (136th), and Allison Carone (155th) stepped up big for the Sharks.
The women’s team not only was the fastest Sharks team ever, but also the fastest PacWest team in the race. HPU beat Cal Baptist, this year’s conference champion, by three points.
Coach Medina commenting on the race, “It was the best team HPU has ever had and it was a year to remember, the women’s team set the standards for the returners and newcomers. They showed us that dreaming of nationals was reality and a goal in reach of one of the toughest teams in the country. The seniors led this team to a great season and set the bar high. As coach I’m satisfied knowing every runner left their heart, soul and energy on the course.”
Katelyn Steen (Western Washington) won the individual race with a time of 21:06. Simon Fraser won the team title.
The Sharks will return to action in spring for their non-championship season. McKenna will run in Louisville, KY on December 6 at the Division II National Championship.
Photo by HPU Athletics.