COCKEYSVILLE, Md.  --  Led by a top 10 finish from senior Emily Gispert, the University of Delaware women’s cross country team posted a strong showing and placed third overall in the team standings at the 30th annual Colonial Athletic Association Cross Country Championships Saturday morning at Oregon Ridge Park.

Gispert, a senior from Hockessin, Del. (Padua Academy), led the Blue Hen for the first time in her career as she covered the hilly six-kilometer course in a time of 22:17.95 to place ninth overall, the best finish for a UD runner since Christina Antonopoulos recorded an eighth place finish at the 2007 meet. Gispert improved upon a 47th place finish at the CAA meet in 2012.

As a team, Delaware placed third for the second straight year as the Blue Hens totalled 86 points, just five points shy of second place. William & Mary won the team title for the second straight year and for the ninth time in the last 11 years with 15 total points. James Madison was second with 81 points followed by Delaware (86), Northeastern (106), league newcomer College of Charleston (150), host Towson (155), UNCW (159), and Hofstra (229).
Delaware enjoyed a strong showing despite the absence of senior Lindsay Prettyman, who dropped out midway through the race. Prettyman had led the team in all five previous meets and in each of the last 16 since the 2011 season. She placed 18th at the CAA event a year ago.

“I think the girls had a great day and we did very well,” said Delaware second-year head coach Wendy McFarlane. “We went out with good energy and finished with good energy and that’s all a coach can ask for. We are looking forward to bigger results later on this season.”

“Our team is stronger than it has been and I think we made a better name for ourselves today,” said Gispert, who has had three other top 10 finishes this season. “We have a good group of girls and everyone came together today. For my senior year, it couldnt’ ask for anything better.”

The Blue Hens recorded five other top 30 finishes during the meet as Alyssa Kennedy was 16th (23:00.16), Nicole Daly was 19th (23:14.04), improving upon last year’s 27th place showing, Shannon Kelly was 24th (23:23.21), Katrina Steenkamer was 25th (23:23.82), and Meredith Steenkamer finished in 30th place (23:35.90).

Individually, William & Mary’s Elaina Balouris won the women’s title for the second straight year as Tribe runners finished in the top five spots. In the men’s race, William & Mary won the team title for the 14th straight year but Northeastern’s Wesley Gallagher captured the individual crown with a time of 24:42.02 over the eight-kilometer layout.

Delaware will continue action Nov. 15 when the Blue Hens compete at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regionals at Lehigh.


Final Team Standings:  1. William & Mary - 15; 2. James Madison - 81; 3. Delaware - 86; 4. Northeastern - 106; 5. College of Charleston - 150; 6. Towson - 155; 7. UNCW - 159; 8. Hofstra - 229;

Top 10 Finishers: 1.  Elaina Balouris (WM), 21:17.11; 2. Emily Stites (WM), 21:17.30; 3. Michelle Britto (WM), 21:36.73; 4. Meghan McGovern (WM), 21:44.61; 5. Dylan Hassett (WM), 21:52.23; 6. Lucy Young (NE), 22:06.27; 8. Elizabeth Tauber (Towson), 22;16.09; 9. Emily Gispert (Delaware), 22:17.95; 10. Erica Amatori (WM), 22:27.04.

Other Delaware Runners:  16. Alyssa Kennedy, 23:00.16; 19. Nicole Daly, 23:14.04; 24. Shannon Kelly, 23:23.21; 25. Katrina Steenkamer, 23:23.82; 30. Meredith Steenkamer, 23:35.90; 33. Michele Lambert, 23:45.78; 38. Betsy Erlanger, 23:58.93; 48. Jessica Olsen, 24:49.14; 53. Melissa Talley, 25:08.55; 65. Melissa Mazzo, 25:56.28; DNF - Lindsay Prettyman