Women’s Cross Country Set to Cap Historic Season at NCAA Championships

Women’s Cross Country Set to Cap Historic Season at NCAA Championships

Live Results
NCAA History 


NCAA XC Championships
Nov. 19, 2016
11 a.m.
Lavern Gibson Course
Terre Haute, Ind.
2016, 2012, 1983, 1982
Ryan Fenton
Bob Kennedy
Sheila Reid

The Harvard women's cross country looks to cap off a historic season at the NCAA Cross Country Championships.

Women's Team, Individual Qualifiers

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard women's cross country team heads to Terre Haute, Ind. for the 2016 NCAA Cross Country Championships, held at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course. The women's 6K race will begin at 11:00 a.m. ET on Saturday, Nov. 19. The Crimson qualified by virtue of finishing in second place at the NCAA Northeast Regional last Friday at Van Cortlandt Park in New York. This marks the fourth time in program history that the Harvard women's cross country team has qualified for the national championship (1982, 1983, 2012, 2016).

Live Streaming
The NCAA Men's and Women's Cross Country Championships will be available to stream exclusively on FloTrack.com. To access the live streaming coverage and post-event replays of the cross country championships, users must sign up to become FloPRO subscribers on FloTrack.com. As a special offer for this year's event, seven-day free trials are available for monthly and annual FloPRO subscriptions. Visit FloTrack.com for more details.

Harvard at NCAAs
Courtney Smith was an individual qualifier for Harvard at the 2015 NCAA Cross Country Championships, placing 60th in the field of 254 posted a time of 20:36.6 in the 6K run and was the third-fastest Ivy competitor in the field at Louisville's E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park.

Harvard last qualified as a team for the NCAA Cross Country Championships in 2012, when current assistant coach Paige Kouba was a freshman on the team. At E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park, Harvard finished 31st overall with Viviana Hanley leading the Crimson by placing 118th in 20:53.7.

Harvard's best overall team finish at the national championship was a fourth place showing at the 1982 NCAA Cross Country Championships. The program's top individual showing at the event came in 1985, when Jenny Stricker '86 placed sixth overall on the 5k course in Milwaukee, Wisc., finishing in 16:34.10.

About the NCAA Cross Country Championships
Thirty-one teams were selected to participate in the NCAA Women's Cross Country Championship, with the top two teams in each of the nine designated regional championships qualifying automatically. Thirteen additional teams earn at-large selections, and 38 individuals are selected to participate in each championship with an automatic qualifier and at-large selection process, with all individuals required to have a top-25 finish in their regions.

About LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course
The 2016 NCAA Cross Country Championships, hosted by Indiana State, will take place at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course. The 6K course is located on the site of a reclaimed coal mine, the course features a challenging mix of uphill and downhill sections after a simple straightaway start.

The Last Time Out
Competing at the NCAA Northeast Regional Championships at Van Cortlandt Park, the Harvard women's cross country team finished second place overall, its highest finish at the NCAA Regionals in program history. Junior Courtney Smith finished second overall in 20:13.90, leading a group of five Harvard runners who each finished in the top 26 of the race. Following Smith for Harvard was freshman Judy Pendergast, who placed sixth overall with a time of 20:38.00. Finishing third for the Crimson was Erin Dietz, who crossed the tape in 20:57.00. Dietz was followed by Elianna Shwayder, who finished 20th in 21:08.30. Freshman Lisa Tertsch was Harvard's fifth scorer, placing 26thwith a time of 21:14.00.

Making History at Ivy Heps
It was a historic day for the Harvard women's cross country team at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships at West Windsor Fields. Junior Courtney Smith won the individual title in 20:19.6 to lead the Crimson to its first Heps title since 1985 and seventh overall in program history. Smith's finish, the first individual title for Harvard since Suzanne Jones in 1989, was part of an outstanding team performance for the Crimson.

Harvard's top five finishers placed in the top 12 of the race, as the Crimson totaled 33 points, ahead of Yale (69 points), and Penn (77 points) on the podium. Smith was followed by sophomore Erin Dietz, who placed fifth in 20:37.8 and freshman Judy Pendergast, who finished sixth in 20:39.4. Another member of Harvard's standout freshman class, Lisa Tertsch, finished ninth in 20:47.6. Junior Elianna Shwayder placed 12th in 20:51.7 to round out the scoring for Harvard.

Ivy Laurels
The top five finishers from the Harvard women's cross country team earned All-Ivy League recognition after a historic performance for the Crimson at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships. In addition, associate head coach Patrick Wales-Dinan was named Ivy League Women's Coach of the Year.

Courtney Smith earned All-Ivy League First Team recognition by way of her top-seven finish, marking the second consecutive year that she has earned first team honors. Freshman Erin Dietz, who placed fifth and freshman Judy Pendergast, who finished sixth were also first team selections. Harvard's All-Ivy Second Team members were freshman Lisa Tertsch (ninth at Heps) and junior Elianna Shwayder (12th at Heps).

In The Rankings
Harvard moved up to No. 17 in the National Coaches Poll released on Oct. 31 by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Harvard is ranked No. 12 in the latest Saucony Flo50 team rankings, and Courtney Smith is ranked No. 7 in the nation in the Saucony Flo50 individual rankings.

A Year Ago
The Harvard women's team finished sixth at the NCAA Regionals, led by Courtney Smith's fifth place showing, helping her qualify for the NCAA Championships. Smith finished 60th in the field of 254 runners, narrowly missing All-America recognition with her time of 20:36.6. The Crimson placed seventh at the 2015 Ivy League Heptagonal Championships, led by Smith's third place finish. The women's team won the Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet, the programs' first victory in the event since 1995, as Smith and senior Paige Kouba finished second and third respectively to lead the Crimson.

At the Helm
Jason Saretsky is in his 11th season as the William W. "Bill" McCurdy Director of Track and Field/Cross Country, and during his tenure the Crimson has landed 29 student-athletes on All-America teams. A five time Women's USTFCCCA Northeast Region Coach of the Year winner, Saretsky has mentored 40 combined NCAA qualifiers at Harvard.