Cross Country Survives 60 mph Winds to Place 2nd in Championships!
Bennington, VT- The Spirits traveled north to compete in the Association of Division III Independents Cross Country Championships held at Willow Park in Bennington, Vermont. The weather played a huge part in this championship race. With gusts of wind at 60 mph along with rain, sleet, and a trace of snow, the harriers of Salem College faced the worst possible weather Saturday morning. With a valiant effort, the Spirits pushed forward to have their first five runners finish in the top 12, good enough to earn runner-up in the cross country championships.
University of Maine Presque Isle won the championship with a total of 22 points. Salem College finished second with 39 points. Southern Vermont College (103), Green Mountain College (113) and Newbury College (114) rounded out the top 5 teams.
Rachel Fichthorn of Salem College led most of the race, fighting the fierce headwinds by herself. With 300 meters to go, Michelle Phillips of University of Maine (23:35) moved ahead to finish 5 seconds ahead of Fichthorn (23:40) for the individual title. Due to the harsh weather conditions, the race times were effected by at least one minute per mile.
After running in second place for the first mile, Lauren Meek (Draper, VA) fell twice due to the extreme muddy conditions, injuring her shoulder and hip. Both times, the first year student gathered herself to take over 3rd place for most of the race. With 300 meters to go, Shelly Hansen, a University of Maine runner, raced by to finish just 5 seconds ahead of Meek (25:11) who finished 4th overall.
Ariel Barker (Monroe, NC) was the surprise of the entire meet. Barker is normally the 6th runner for the Salem College Spirits. Ariel surprised everybody by placing 10th overall and 3rd on the team. “Ariel ran great today,” Coach Widner stated. “She had a good race last week in Kentucky, so this shouldn’t have been a surprise. Ariel ran the hills great today as she made a tremendous break-through. It’s a great way to end a season.”
Mae Sanders (Winston-Salem, NC) and Rachel Aderholdt (North Augusta, GA) finished the Spirits scoring with an 11th and 12th place finish. Veronica Tremblay (Standfield, NC) and Julie Bigsby (Salisbury, NC) also competed and finished in the top twenty.
Rachel Fichthorn (second), Lauren Meek (third) and Ariel Barker (10th) were named on the “All-Association” Team for their top-10 finishes.