PORTSMOUTH, Ohio – For the 24th straight week dating back to November 2012, the Shawnee State women’s cross country program is ranked in the NAIA Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, national officials announced on Wednesday evening.
During the previous weekend, the Bears participated in the NAIA Preview in Charlotte, N.C. and behind another standout performance from Sarah Biehl – who won the event with an 18:07, finishing 11 seconds ahead of the second-place harrier – would finish third in the 23-team field overall as Shawnee State’s top seven runners would place in the top-60 in the 206-runner field.
With last Friday’s victory, Biehl set another top-10 time in school history, and in the process, became the third runner in program history to presently hold at least two top-10 marks. Additionally, Biehl became just the sixth runner in program history to win multiple meets.
Those career marks, however, weren’t the only accolades that Biehl would obtain on the season, as the senior would grab her third Mid-South Conference Runner of the Week Award of the season and second in a row.
The award, which was also the fifth of Biehl’s career, gives the Sport Management major the most Runner of the Week awards in program history.
For the second weekend in a row, underclassmen Anna Havranek and Katie Saling would put up times of under 19 seconds.
Both would go on to obtain top-25 finishes in the field with their aforementioned times, with Havranek grabbing a 17th place finish via a 18:49.5 and Saling running an 18:56.6 to cut two seconds from her previous personal best in finishing at the 24th position.
Four more Bears would come across the line between 43rd and 56th place, as Megan Ashton and Megan Day would finish less than seven seconds apart in running a 19:30.8 (43rd) and a 19:37.7 (49th), respectively.
Jenna Liston and Alyssa Taylor would round out the top seven overall for Shawnee State as both runners finish just a second apart with their times of 19:45.1 and 19:46.1 to finish in 55th and 56th place.
In doing so, both would set new personal best times, with the former breaking into the top-25 runners of all time in capping off another standout performance for the female harriers.
As far as the NAIA Top 25 Poll is concerned, the Bears would fall one position in the poll after Indiana Wesleyan edged Shawnee State by a scant 13 points for second place at the NAIA Preview. As a result, the Wildcats would pass the Bears for the No. 10 position in the polls.
There was no change at the top of the NAIA Top 25 Poll, however, as Northwest Christian (Ore.) holds the top spot in the poll for the second week in a row. Aquinas (Mich.), who was the overall winner of the NAIA Preview, remained in the second position.
The Bears, who will be looking to capture their sixth straight Mid-South Conference championship since joining the MSC in 2010, are the only conference team to be ranked or receive votes in the NAIA Top 25.
Shawnee State will be back in action on Saturday, Oct. 24th as the women and men will race in the ASICS Sand Shark Invitational in Hardeeville, S.C.
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