Preview: Women’s Cross Country to Compete in 19th NCAA Division II Championship

Skyhawks aim to best their 24th team finish at last year's Championship

2018 NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships Homepage – Slippery Rock University

NCAA Division II National Championships Festival Information

Lastra was named NE10 Female Athlete of the Year after winning the individual title 

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (November 29, 2018) - The Stonehill College women's cross country team, ranked No. 1 in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association East Regional Rankings (USTFCCCA), will compete in its 19th-straight trip to the NCAA Division II Championships this Saturday at the Bob O'Connor Golf Course at Schenley Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The men's 10-kilometer race will kick off the day at 11:00 a.m., while the women's six-kilometer race will begin at 12:15 p.m.

Tickets for the event can be purchased day of event for $10 a vehicle at Schenley Park. For those who will not be making the trip to Pennsylvania, NCAA cross country fans can watch the live streams of the Championships on Flotrack as they will be providing pay-per-view live coverage of the event.

Stonehill captured its 15th NCAA Division II East Region Championship two weeks ago in Bethpage, New York at Bethpage State Park with a total of 58 points. The Skyhawks won their eighth title in 10 years with a slight margin of five points ahead of runner up Roberts Wesleyan College. Northeast-10 Conference foe Merrimack College took home third place with 111 points. Junior Anna Lastra led the way for the Skyhawks, finishing second for her best finish at the East Regional, clocking in a time of 22:17.40, seven seconds behind the individual champion, Kendall Fitzgerald, from Post University. The six other Skyhawks that competed also earned All-East Region honors as this was the third time in seven years that all seven competitors received regional honors.

To qualify for regionals, Stonehill won its 17th NE10 Championship in Hopkinton, New Hampshire at the Hopkinton State Fairgrounds and 10th-straight title in dominating fashion. Out of the 20 total points scored by the Purple & White, nine Skyhawks earned All-Conference honors, including Lastra who was the individual champion. This was her first time winning the Championship, but the fourth-straight individual title for Stonehill, where Emily Knox '18 won the race last year and Nicole Borofski '17 won twice prior. This is the third time in Conference history that a school has won the individual title four-straight years, with Springfield College leading the way with six-straight individual titles spanning from 1987-92.

The three-time NE10 All-Conference, two-time All-East Region honoree, and 2018 NE10 Female Athlete of the Year, Lastra is coming off a career-best second-place finish at the East Regional Championship. Lastra earned her second All-East Region honor, as she finished 13th her freshman year. The junior also took home her first NE10 individual Championship title with a time of 21:57.4. This season she placed seventh at the Division II/III Challenge, 36th at the New England Championships, and 13th at the Bruce Kirsh Cross Country Cup. This will be Lastra's third NCAA Championship appearance in her career.

Classmate Alyssa Freeman will appear in her second NCAA Championship after she collected her second All-East Region accolade as she was the second Skyhawk across the finish line, taking home ninth place out of 184 competitors with a time of 22:38.90. Freeman also tallied her second NE10 All-Conference honor also finishing ninth at the NE10 Championship. She previously finished 24th at the Shawn M. Nassaney Invitational, eighth at the Division II/III Challenge, and 40th at the New England Championships, for her best mark in her career.

Appearing in her third NCAA Championship, senior Makenzie Cyr crossed the finish line in 22:45.20, finishing 12th overall in the six-kilometer race and earning her fourth All-East Region recognition. The 2015 NE10 Rookie of the Year earned her fourth NE10 All-Conference honor as she took home third at the Conference Championship this season. Earlier this season, Cyr earned four top-25 marks.

Curtin is appearing in her second NCAA Championship after placing 17th at East Regionals and second place at the NE10 Championship

Sophomore Sam Curtin, appearing in her second NCAA Championship, collected her second All-East Region and NE10 All-Conference accolade this season as she placed 17th overall  at East Regional and was the runner-up to Lastra at the NE10 Championship. She has also seen four other top-25 results.

Senior Isabel Baker will be competing in her first NCAA Championship after crossing the finish line fifth at the NE10 Championship with a time of 22:12.0. Baker received her first NE10 All-Conference recognition, as she earned first team recognition. This season, Baker has finished in the top-20 of all five races competed in.

Junior Jordan Callahan will also be appearing in her first NCAA Championship and she tallied her first-career All-East Region honor and NE10 All-Conference recognition. Callahan finished 19th at the East Regional Championship with a time of 23:13.30 and 16th at the NE10 Championship, for her best career marks. In the earlier part of the season, the junior also finished in the top-20 in three other meets.

Rebecca Erhard will toe the line at the NCAA Championship for the first time in her career as she crossed the finish line as the fifth Skyhawk at the East Regional Championship, finishing in 18th place with a time of 23:11.10. The freshman was named the 2018 NE10 Rookie of the Year after her 15th-place mark at the NE10 Championship, clocking in at 22:36.7. In her first year, Erhard saw four other top-40 finishes this season.

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