Despite harsh weather conditions, the 20th-ranked Toledo women’s cross country team ran to its third-straight Mid-American Conference Championship in historic fashion Saturday afternoon at Beaver Island State Park in Grand Island, N.Y.The Rockets dominated conference foes with a record-breaking score of 24 points, eclipsing their mark of 33 points set in last year’s championship race.
Eight of the nine Toledo runners earned All-MAC honors, while Head Coach Kevin Hadsell was named the MAC Coach of the Year for the third straight year and the fifth time in his career. The Rockets now have five conference championships in program history.
“Today went really well,” Hadsell said. “I’m really proud of how we were able to handle the conditions. Our whole game plan coming in here was to validate our ranking and to get as many All-MAC runners as possible. This should really set us up nice for the NCAA Regionals in a couple of weeks.”
Senior Kaylin Belair and sophomores Megan Wright and Liz Weiler led the Rockets, crossing the finish line second, third and fourth. Belair ran at 5:41-mile pace and finished 20 seconds behind Ohio’s Julie Accurso at 21:08.7. Wright and Weiler recorded times of 21:20.5 and 21:24.9, respectively.
Sophomores Brooke Tullis (21:55.8) and Priscilla Timmons (21:56.5) finished back to back in seventh and eighth place, while juniors Devyn Ramsay and Liz Lemon and freshman Sharon Morgan rounded out the top-14 finishers.
Two-time MAC Runner of the Week Mackenzie Chojnacky battled through the tough weather conditions and an illness to finish 57th with a mark of 23:00.8.
Toledo became the first school to win three consecutive MAC titles since Ohio won five straight crowns from 1987 to 1992.
According to Hadsell, this is just the beginning for the Rockets as they will amp up their training to prepare for the NCAA Regional Championships, which will be hosted by Wisconsin Friday, Nov. 9. Toledo will gun for its third straight NCAA Championship bid at the regional meet.