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Tech Races to Best Finish in School History at NCAA XC Championships


STILLWATER, Okla. – Georgia Tech women’s cross country had its best overall team finish in school history at NCAA Division I Cross Country National Championships, racing to a 20th-place finish in the women’s 6K championship at the OSU Cross Country Course in Stillwater on Monday afternoon.

The Yellow Jackets scored 508 points to beat out the program’s previous best finish of 26th-place from 2001. Techs’ historic day was anchored by an all-American effort by senior Nicole Fegans. Fegans placed 12th individually with a time of 20:29, securing the second-best individual performance at NCAA’s in school history.

“We are so proud of how the women capped off a truly amazing season,” said head women’s cross-country coach Alan Drosky.  “Nicole’s 12th-place finish and the team finishing 20th in the nation were a fitting end. We were very conservative in the first half of the race, but every one of them hung tough, never gave up on themselves or each other and kept moving through the field.  Top-20 national finishes are hard to come by, you have to fight for it, and that’s what our women did today.”

The 6K was quick from the start as the 850-meter straightaway proved to be a tone setter for the pace of the rest of the race. Fegans played her role as the lineup’s reliable low-stick, never falling below 20th-place throughout the contest. The rest of the Jackets did their best running during crunch time in the second-half of the meet, as Tech jumped up five spots on the team leaderboard in the final 1000m.

From the very beginning of the race Fegans established herself as one of the nation’s best women’s distance runners. At the 1000m mark she clocked in at 3:05, while the rest of the Jackets kept with the middle of the pack.

As the midway point in the race hit Tech found itself in 28th-place on the team leaderboard. When the final 2000m came the Jackets came alive moving up eight spots backed by gutsy performances by the middle of the roster. Junior Liz Galarza had one of the most impressive finishes in the entire field as she passed 70 runners from the 4000m mark to the finish. Galarza was the Jackets second finisher coming in at 77th-place overall with a time of 21:20. Senior Mary Claire Solomon was the next Tech runner to cross the finish line in a valiant display of effort in the final 1000m passing 22 runners taking 167th-place at 22:02. Mary Kathryn Knott wasn’t far behind as she sprinted past 26 spots in the last 1000m placing 169th with a time of 22:03. Sophomore Claire Moritz rounded out the scoring for the Yellow Jackets at 200th-place as she registered a time of 22:26.8.

Two true freshmen also got to lace it up at NCAA’s as well, as Katy Earwood (211th-place, 22:35) and Kenzie Walls (234th-place, 22:59) raced valorously on the biggest stage.

“It was a total team effort, not just today but the entire season,” Drosky added.  “We’re very proud coaches of our entire team, of our support staff, and our administration, and of the Institute.  Our athletic trainer, Ashley McLendon,  has been awesome in helping our program navigate through this year.  Our graduate manager,  Haley Stumvoll, has also been a tremendous help to the team.  Our Communication intern, McKinley Ward-La Salle, brings so much passion to our program.  And we would be remiss to not mention our two seniors who graduated in December that were so important to us being here today, Ellen Flood and Hannah Petit.”

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