Fourth-year Liz Lawton finished sixth as the Maroons overall finished tenth overall in their final race of the season at last Saturday’s NCAA D-III championships.
“Our goal from the beginning of the season was to be a top-ten team in the country,” said Lawton. “I am so proud of our team. Obviously, some of us didn’t have our best days, but that is going to happen in this sport.”
Though Lawton did not take the individual title as she had hoped, she did finish sixth out of a field of 279 with a time of 21:22. The day’s winner, Wendy Pavlus of St. Lawrence, ran 20:49.
“Personally, I did not have my best performance,” Lawton explained. “We aren’t machines, and it is just not physically possible to have a “best day” performance every day. Races can be broken down into best races, okay races, and bad races. In the first mile I realized that it was just not in my legs, but I tried to stay as mentally focused as possible and really gave all I could. Obviously the goal was to win, but it was not in the cards and if anything, it’ll make me that much more hungry when it comes to track titles.”
Third-year Rachel Ohman was Chicago’s second finisher, placing 51st with her time of 22:01. Second-year Julia Sizek (22:35), fourth-year Molly Peverada (22:42), and first-year Michaela Whitelaw (23:09) brought the overall score to 366 points. Fourth-year Elizabeth Bright and third-year Sonia Kahn also competed for the Maroons.
“I think as a whole we were hoping for a slightly better performance at nationals, but by no means were we disappointed with our place as a team. Even though it would’ve been really cool to trophy as a team, being the tenth in the nation is not something to be disappointed with,” said Sizek.
The Middlebury Panthers earned their sixth national title with a total of 183 points, edging out Wash U by just eight points. MIT and UW-Eau Claire rounded out the four trophy finishers with 214 and 218, points respectively.
“Walking away from the meet, I don’t think anyone had any regrets. Even though not every individual had a personal best performance, we all gave it our best effort that we could, and we did have some outstanding individual performances,” Sizek continued. “I think the experience was important for our growth as runners individually and as a team. Going to nationals was the best experience I could ever have with my teammates and friends.”
After finishing fifth at regionals and 10th at nationals, the outlook for next year is optimistic. “It’s hard to make predictions for next year but I know that if we stay on the same road we were [on] this season, this team has a big future. This team is a really remarkable group of individuals, and while everything has its time, it breaks my heart that next year I will have to miss out on an experience like I had this fall,” said Lawton.
“I can walk away from this season proud of what I accomplished and what my team accomplished,” Lawton added.