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Women's Cross Country

The Mids Earn the Women's Cross Country Star

WAPPINGERS FALLS, N.Y. – A dominant pack strategy by the Navy women's cross country team led the squad to a 15-point victory over service academy rival Army in the 2021 Star Meet. Led by Ellie Abraham's second-place individual result, Midshipmen runners crossed the finish line at Bowdoin Park consecutively in each of the next four positions as Navy totaled 20 team points versus 35 for the host Army team. The Mids' tightly packed lead group finished with an impressive top-five separation of just 31.8 seconds.

"The women competed really well today," remarked head coach Kim Lewnes. "After racing Army two weeks ago at the Paul Short Invitational, we knew exactly what we needed to do to BEAT ARMY! We held each other accountable and really raced as a team. I am proud of their efforts from top to bottom. Everyone here today played a very important role in pushing their teammates to victory.

"Ellie is a fierce competitor. She executed her race plan to lead the team to victory. Jessica and Elizabeth kept the pressure on throughout the race and demonstrated great leadership in our chase pack. I loved watching Emily and Winter work together. They calmly paced each other through the first mile, held off the Army in the middle, and put more space between in the final mile." 

The 5.6k race began with Navy holding a slight three-point advantage through the first checkpoint at 1.6k, 26-29. Abraham was the first Midshipmen past the marker as she was third with a split time of 5:41.5. Elizabeth Sullivan (Jr., Portsmouth, R.I.) and Jessica Nangle were right there with Abraham as Sullivan posted a 5:41.6 and Nangle a 5:42.5.
Over the next 1.5k before the next checkpoint, Winter Boese and Emily Boutin joined their teammates in sixth and seventh place respectively to give Navy a hardened five-person pack and a 25-30 lead 3.1k into the race. Abraham held her third position as she was just 0.6 seconds behind Army's Helen Shearer and 1.2 behind Georgia Jones, who was pacing the field.
Down the stretch in the final 2.5k of the race, Navy's shape stayed solid as Army's weakened. While Jones pulled away for the individual victory with a time of 19:20.9, the Mids' quintet of runners surpassed Shearer and moved into positions two through six. As the team raced to the finish line, Abraham finished in second place with a time of 19:34.9. Sullivan came in third behind her teammate with a 19:59.3 result. Boese, Boutin and Nangle all sprinted down the final meters of the race within seconds of each other as Boese clocked in with a 20:01.8 time, while Boutin placed fifth at 20:03.9. The team captain, Nangle closed out the five-person team scoring in sixth with a time of 20:06.7, nearly 15 seconds clear of Army's second finisher, Dominique Shultz, who finished the course at 20:21.0.
Racing in their final Army-Navy Cross Country Star Meet, seniors Anna Kovacs and Maddie Warrender placed 14th and 15th overall with respective times of 20:46.4 and 20:50.9.
Navy's final point total of 20 matches the 2012 and 2016 Midshipmen squads for the lowest winning scores of the past decade.
"It wasn't the perfect day for everyone individually, but did what we needed to do to beat Army and have some very eager midshipmen preparing for the Patriot League Championship," said Lewnes in closing.

Friday's victory increases Navy's lead in the all-time series for women's cross country to 22-14.
In conjunction with Navy's win in the men's cross country race, the Naval Academy holds a 5-1 advantage over Army in the 2021-22 Star Series presented by USAA through six events.