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Women's Cross Country

Navy Wins Women's Cross Country Star Meet

Annapolis, Md. - The Navy women's cross country team defeated Army by a score of 24-31 in this year's women's Star Meet at the Naval Academy on Saturday. 

The Mids' seven-point win over the Black Knights was spearheaded by dominant performances by juniors Grace West (Pinehurst, N.C.) and Claire Ostrowski (Virginia Beach, Va.), and clutch tactical pack-running by the squad's depth.
"I'm so proud of these ladies," exclaimed an overjoyed head coach Karen Boyle after the race. "They pushed the pace and used our home course advantage to get our N-star back. Grace, Claire, Ali [Valenti], and Cait [Schmitt] ran picture-perfect races up front, while the rest of the team did a super job of packing between the middle pack Army scorers. Another acknowledgment goes out to our athletic trainer, Heather Mohler. She deserves so much gratitude for keeping these women healthy; she's a game changer! Today was just an amazing day, way to go Navy!"
Racing in a dual format with 12 entrants per side, Navy came into Saturday's meet healthy, confident and deep in talent. Confident in their familiarity with their home course, the Mids saw West and Ostrowski break away early and lead throughout the majority of the race. West completed the 6,000-meter event with a time of 21:40.18. Slightly off her teammate's pace, Ostrowski clocked in at 21:50.44. All-time, West's time was the seventh fastest in the history of the USNA 6K Women's Cross Country Course. The junior's time was the fastest since 2013. Ostrowski just missed breaking into the top-10 all-time as the previous No. 10 time was a 21:50.0 by Johns Hopkins' Hannah Oneda in 2012.
Army's first finisher Shelby Piccinic was over 15 seconds behind Ostrowski in third place with a 22:06.16 time. 
Ali Valenti (Sr., Lansdale, Pa.) made it three Mids in the top-four as she came in a little over six seconds behind Piccinic with a time of 22:12.90.
A tight pack of five runners crossed the finish line in quick succession with Army's Bethany Nunnery and Abby Halbrook going back-to-back in fifth (22:42.32) and sixth place (22:45.31). Caitlin Schmitt (Jr., Evergreen, Colo.) held off another pair of Black Knight runners to finish in seventh place at 22:46.28. 
Following Army's Samantha Coletti (22:49.44) and Mika Andrews (22:53.04) was Navy's team captain Erin McDonnell (Sr., Traverse City, Mich.), who turned in the tenth-best time of 23:05.01.
The five scores of West (1), Ostrowski (2), Valenti (4), Schmitt (7) and McDonnell (10) gave the Midshipmen a team-total of 24 points, while Piccinic (3), Nunnery (5), Halbrook (6), Coletti (8) and Andrews (9) combined for a total of 31 points.
Karla Mendoza (Jr., Madison, Neb.), Rachel Fairbanks (Sr., Jamesville, N.Y.) and Maddie Warrender (Fr., Mount Wolf, Pa.) came in consecutively behind McDonnell in 11th, 12th and 13th place, respectively.
The win for Navy was the seventh in eight years for the squad and improved the program's all-time record in Star Meets to 21-12.
Saturday's meet was part of the year-long Army-Navy Star Series presented by USAA. At the conclusion of the day on Saturday, Army holds a slight lead at 4-3 over Navy through seven events. The next contest in the series will be the men's and women's swim meets on Dec. 1 at West Point.