SHAWNEE — Oklahoma Baptist won its second consecutive Great American Conference Women’s Cross Country Championship title as the No. 15 Lady Bisons placed seven runners inside the top 10 to cruise to a 44-point victory.
One year after taking third at the GAC Championships, Oklahoma Baptist’s Kaylee Crowson earned the Runner of the Year award as she finished with a time of 18:14.8. She crossed the finish 2.4 seconds in front of her teammate, Sydney Lawrence. Allison Derry, Emily Sechrist, Emma Downing, Berkley Price and Tesa Potter led a Lady Bison pack of runners that finished fifth through ninth. Alexzandria Jaimz earned a top-15 finish, as she posted a 14th-place result. Downing earned the Freshman of the Year award, and head coach Matt Kennedy collected the Coach of the Year accolade.
Harding edged East Central by six points to finish as the event’s runner-up. Alicja Minczuk led the Lady Bisons, and she placed third. Sydney Tabor, Sharon Chepseba and Kinga Szarzynska all finished inside the top 20.
Anna Mora paced ECU with a fourth-place showing. Kyleigh Norris joined Mora inside the top 10 as she took the final First-Team All-GAC spot, 10th. ECU runners Abbie Winchester, Barbara Johnson and Yvette Felix all turned in results inside the top 20.
Southern Arkansas placed fourth, while Southeastern Oklahoma State took fifth and Southern Nazarene claimed sixth. Kyra Fuller led the Crimson Storm as she crossed the line in 11th. Rebekah Christman finished in 13th as the top Savage Storm performer. Carley Hale paced the Muleriders with a 16th-place result.
Arkansas Tech, Northwestern Oklahoma State, Ouachita, Henderson State and Arkansas-Monticello rounded out the team scoring. Southwestern Oklahoma State did not record a team score.
The top 10 runners earned First-Team All-GAC honors, while finishers 11 through 20 placed on the All-GAC Second Team.
The GAC also recognized its top scholar-athletes. Six standouts — Arkansas Tech’s Adrianna Simmons, Arkansas-Monticello’s Kalifornia Bolter, East Central’s Winchester and Kaylee Rice, Oklahoma Baptist’s Sechrist and Southern Nazarene’s Rachel Hurtz — earned the Elite Scholar-Athlete as they all own a 4.0 grade-point average.
Lawrence and Mora both received the Distinguished Scholar-Athlete honor, along with Harding’s Parker Fane and Victoria Hood, ECU’s Kelsey Horner, Ouachita’s Kallie Polk, SAU’s Michelle Donahue and Southern Nazarene’s Dragana Samarzic.
ECU will now have two weeks off before traveling to Joplin, Missouri, to participate in the 2018 NCAA Division II Central Regional, hosted by Missouri Southern State.