team The Whitman women’s cross country team worked its way to a second-place finish in the NCAA West Region meet and a trip to the NCAA Division III championships this year.

Yasmeen Colis ’10 and Sara McCune ’10 led the women’s team to a 25th place finish at the NCAA Division III National Cross Country Championships in Cleveland, Ohio, in November.

Colis finished the 6,000-meter course in 23:34.5, placing 97th among 279 finishers. McCune was 111th in 23:41.7. Rounding out Whitman’s top five (team score) were Kristen Ballinger ’11, Michela Corcorran ’10 and Heather O’Moore ’10. Others running for Whitman were Emily Rodriguez ’10 and Emilie Gilbert ’13.

“This field of runners was very, very strong,” Whitman Coach Malcolm Dunn said.

“This was one of the tightest and deepest fields I’ve ever seen at a national championship event. It came down to a matter of just a few seconds for every place and every team point.”

By placing second a week earlier at the NCAA West Region meet, the Whitman women qualified as a team for the championships for the first time since Whitman completed its transition to the NCAA in the late 1990s. Several Whitman women had qualified as individuals for previous NCAA championship meets.

“This was a very emotional race for our team,” he noted. “Our seniors in particular have worked so hard in recent years to get our whole team qualified for nationals. They were thrilled to be running and competing today, and when it was all over, they were just overwhelmed by it all.”

In October, the women’s team placed a close second at the NWC Championships, while a young men’s team placed a strong fourth, the best men’s finish since 1994. For the women, Ballinger, Colis, McCune, O’Moore and Corcorran won all-conference honors, as did Cory Rand ’13 for the men.

— Dave Holden