For the third time in four years, the Middlebury College women's cross country team has captured the NCAA Championship. The '00 and '01 champions earn the 18th National Championship trophy for Middlebury College since '95. The race took place at Hanover College in Indiana.
The race was dominated by NESCAC squads, led by Middlebury in first place with 135 points. Placing second was Trinity with 174, followed by Wisconsin-Stevens Point (193), Williams (206) and Amherst (225).
Leading the way for the Panthers was junior Jessica Manzer (Palatine Bridge, N.Y.), who placed fourth overall in 22:11, 55 seconds off the winning pace. Placing 21st overall was first-year racer Andrea Giddings (S. Portland, Maine) with a time of 23:06, followed closely by senior Molly Yazwinski (Deerfield, Mass.) in 22nd place in 23:08. First-year racer Erin Archard (Vienna, Maine) placed fourth for Middlebury and 42nd overall in 23:30, followed by rookie Stephanie Nugent (Cambridge, Mass.) in 46th place with a time of 23:34.
"We felt a lot of pressure coming into this race, having been ranked number one nationally for most of the season," said Head Coach Terry Aldrich. "To have them respond to that kind of pressure and come through with the championship was really something."
Middlebury, who placed second in '99 and '02 have become quite a national power in women's cross country. "A lot of coaches were talking about our consistent success over that past several years, it's really pretty exciting."