TERRE HAUTE, IN - Iona College women's cross country junior Kate Avery won the 2014 NCAA Cross Country Championship with a first place finish Saturday afternoon at LaVern Gibson XC Course. Avery is the first female student-athlete in Iona athletics history to win a national championship, and second student-athlete overall to earn the distinction. In its second-ever appearance at the NCAA Championship, the Maroon & Gold finished ninth overall.
A native of Newton Aycliffe, England, Avery is also the first British woman to win the NCAA Cross Country Championship, a year after becoming the first ever medalist from the UK. Avery completed the race with a time of 19:31.6, more than eight seconds ahead of the second place finisher, Wisconsin's Sarah Disanza. She improved on her third place standing from 2013 and completed the trifecta of winning the MAAC, NCAA Northeast Regional and NCAA individual championships.
The Gaels ninth place team finish was the best in school history. Graduate student Rosie Clarke was the Maroon & Gold's second finisher in 60th place (20:56.6). Graduate Tara Jameson (21:06.0) came in 78th, junior Melissa Hawtin (21:40.3) was 167th and Regina Neumeyer (21:47.2) was 183rd to round out Iona's scorers.
Iona completes its most successful cross country season in history after winning the MAAC Championship for the ninth straight year, the NCAA Northeast Regional Championship for the first time and the ninth place finish this afternoon.