Trojans Finish 28th In First Nationals Appearance

Women's Cross Country Team Picture
Women's Cross Country Team Picture

EVANSVILLE, IND. - The University of Mount Olive women's cross country team finished 28th overall in the teams first appearance at the NCAA Division 2 National Championship in Evansville, Ind. Sophomore Leah Hanle led the team finishing 14th to earn her second consecutive All-American honors.

Location: Evansville, Ind.


Women's 6k      
Name Time Team Score Event Finish
Leah Hanle  21:19.5 13 14
Shona Blades 23:11.3 137 161
Celine Ritter 23:14.9 145 169
Julia Bridges 24:40.5 203 228
Meredith Lorient 24:58.5 210 235
Jessica Glenn 25:13.6 (214) 239
Elise Tanner 26:04.1 (219) 244
Team Total   708 28 of 32










  • Hanle, who led the Trojans, was as high as seventh when she crossed the 2k split but as she crossed the 3k split she had fallen to 14th. She got back up to 11th when she crossed the 4k split, but Hanle dropped again as she crossed the final two splits in the 14th spot to come in 14th overall. Hanle averaged a 3:34.9 kilometer with her fastest time coming in the first kilometer at 3:18.6. She was also the second highest placing sophomore at the meet.
  • Shona Blades finished second for the Trojans crossing the finish line as the 161st runner. She finished with a 23:11.3 time, eight seconds over her PR (23:03.63) that she set at Regionals on Nov. 4. Blades' fastest time also came in the first kilometer as she ran a 3:34.7 opening kilometer.
  • Celine Ritter, the Conference Carolinas Freshman of the Year, finished 169th bringing in 145 team points for Mount Olive. The freshman averaged a 3:51.6 split with her fastest time coming in the first kilometer at 3:27.3.
  • Senior Julia Bridges finished 228th for UMO with a time of 24:40.5. The senior was the driving force for the women's cross country team who wanted to send out Bridges on a high note. Bridges averaged a 4:21.3 split with her fastest time 3:35.9 coming in the first kilometer.
  • Meredith Lorient finished 235 overall with a time of 24:58.5 bringing in 210 points for UMO. She averaged a 4:13.5 split with her fastest split coming in the opening kilometer at 3:34.1.
  • Jessica Glenn and Elise Tanner came in 239 and 244 respectively for the Trojans. Glenn ran a 25:13.6 6k averaging 4:10.7 per split. Tanner averaged a 4:25 split finishing the 6k race in 26:04.1.


  • This was the Trojans first appearance as a team at the NCAA Division II National Championships.
  • Hanle improved her finishing place by 11 as she came in 25th at Nationals in 2016 and takes home 14th this year.


The top-40 finishers in the race earned the title of All-American. Representing the Trojans for the second time was sophomore Leah Hanle with a 14th place finish.


"Finishing 14th this year makes me really happy because it was better than last year," said sophomore Leah Hanle. "Since the race was tough with the wind and mud I am happy with the race and the results and the All-American title. It was the first time that the women's team made Nationals and the team didn't have any big goals it was just to reach nationals and that everyone perform her best and go. Since we beat Anderson from our region where we got third, I would say we deserved to go to nationals and we gave it our all."


This was the final race of the 2017 cross country season. The Trojans indoor track and field season begins on December 3.