For Immediate Release — Monday, November 21, 2005
George J. Gagnier
Sports Information Director
Department of Athletics & Recreation
SUNY Geneseo Women's Cross-Country Team Wins NCAA Division III Championships
GENESEO, N.Y. — The State University of New York at Geneseo women's cross-country team lived up to this week's national No. 1 ranking by becoming the college's first-ever national championship team by scoring 88 points to runner-up Williams (Mass.) College's 107 at the NCAA Division III Cross Country championships Saturday afternoon in Delaware, Ohio.
First-year student Liz Montgomery led three All-American runners for Geneseo as she finished third in the race in a time of 22:00, just nine seconds off the winning time set by Hailey Harren of Gustavus Adolphus. Senior Marta Scott and junior Shannon Griggs earned All-American honors after finishing the 6-kilometer course in 24th place (22:50) and 30th place (22:55), respectively.
"This is unreal," Montgomery said. "We've been dreaming of this all season and it happened for us. It was a total team effort, and all of those people (in the stands) were part of the team. Our team motto is 'Believe' and I think we all really believed we could do it."
Geneseo's scoring five included senior Renne Catalano, who was 48th in 23:15 and first-year student Christiana Martin, who finished 56th in 23:20. Junior Christy Finke and sophomore Karen Merrill were 93rd in 23:54 and 117th in 24:12 completed the Knights' seven.
Head Coach Mike Woods was named the National Coach of the Year as the Knights won their 10th meet in as many tries this season. Prior to the achievement, Geneseo's closest national champion contenders were the 1994 women's soccer team and the 2004 men's soccer team, who each advanced to the national semifinals before being eliminated.
"We're thrilled," said Woods. "This is our college's first team championship ever. The girls have run together and worked together as a team so hard. There are a lot of stories here. Liz made a huge impact, and we knew we were getting a good girl, but Shannon Griggs was hurt two years and was never able to realize her potential, and Christiana Martin was overseas for a year."
On the men's side, No. 16 Geneseo finished 20th in team scoring with 440 points in Ohio. Senior Ross Hunkovic raced to a 78th place finish to lead the pack in a time of 27:02. Geneseo's top two runners all season, senior Dan Moore and junior Mike McGrath, were 122nd in 27:28 and 130th in 27:32. Sophomore Jim Tillapaugh was 131st in 27:33 and junior Billy Holl galloped to a time of 28:07 to finish 180th and complete the scoring five. Other runners for Geneseo included senior Andrew McCarthy, who was 185th in 28:14 and first year Will Haskell, who was 193rd in 28:27.
The championships were hosted by Ohio Wesleyan University at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio and Dornoch Golf Club.