Nov. 1, 2008
MEMPHIS (SMU) - The SMU Mustangs won the 2008 Conference USA women's cross country championship on Saturday, Nov. 1, at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex. It is the first C-USA title for the SMU cross country program and snaps a two-year reign by the Rice Owls. SMU's Silje Fjortoft won the individual title as well, besting defending champion Alex Becker of Tulsa.
Despite entering the race as an underdog to the Owls, SMU left little doubt in winning the title, bettering Rice by 10 points. In addition to Fjortoft's great run, all the SMU runners turned in stellar performances, with three Mustangs claiming top-10 finishes and all five scorers ranking in the top 12 of the 82-person race.
Fjortoft clocked a 5K course record time of 16:46, 17 seconds better than Becker. 2006 All-American Rachael Forish took sixth in 17:24, while freshman Monika Korra was 10th in 17:39. Claire Hardwick (17:41) and Jessa Simmons (17:42) rounded out the SMU scorers in 11th and 12th, respectively.
All seven SMU runners earned All-Conference accolades as Fjortoft and Forish picked up first team merits, while Korra, Hardwick and earned second-team honors. Anderson and Pettigrew were honored with third-team merits.
"I was just so proud of the girls," said Cathy Casey, SMU's cross country coach. "Everybody just really stepped up from where they were. We really came together as a team. Every single runner went out there and ran their heart out. It was time that we all came together, not just one person, but the entire team."
Full results are available here.
The championship was the first for the SMU women since winning the 2004 Western Athletic Conference title.
The Mustangs return to the course at the NCAA Regionals, Nov. 15, in Waco, Texas.
2008 C-USA WOMEN'S FINAL TEAM STANDINGS
1. SMU, 40
2. Rice, 50
3. Tulsa, 77
4. UAB 116
5. Houston , 145
6. East Carolina, 177
7. UTEP, 182
8. UCF, 198
9. Tulane, 209
10. Marshall, 270
11. Southern Miss, 344
12. Memphis, 357
2008 Women's Cross Country All-Conference Teams
1. Silje Fjortoft, SMU 16:46
2. Alex Becker, Tulsa 17:03
3. Nicole Mericle, Rice 17:08
4. Lennie Waite, Rice 17:18
5. Allison Pye, Rice 17:21
6. Rachael Forish, SMU 17:24
7. Happy Mary Bacia, UTEP 17:26
8. Katie Wright, Tulsa 17:29
9. Stephanie Aldea, Houston 17:38
10. Monika Korra, SMU 17:39
11. Claire Hardwick, SMU 17:41
12. Jessa Simmons, SMU 17:42
13. Britany Williams, Rice 17:43
14. Brittany Copeland, East Carolina 17:45
15. Stephanie Gammon, UAB 17:51
16. Sandra Lundberg, UAB 18:10
17. Sierra Anderson, SMU 18:15
18. Jepchirchir Kigen, UTEP 18:17
19. Dawn Nagazina, Tulsa 18:17
20. Ilyssa Pettigrew, SMU 18:18
21. Starla Garcia, Houston 18:19