Women's Cross Country Wins Fourth Straight Conference Carolinas Championship

Women's Cross Country Wins Fourth Straight Conference Carolinas Championship

Mount Olive, N.C. - The University of Mount Olive women's cross country team finished first at the 2018 Conference Carolinas championships earning their fourth consecutive title. Six runners finished in the top 10 as the Trojans claimed their fourth straight banner.

Location: Mount Olive, N.C.


Women's 6k      
Name Time Team Score Event Finish
Shona Blades 22:38.4 1 1
Celine Ritter 22:43.4 2 2
Leah Hanle 22:43.5 3 3
Elise Tanner 23:31.8 5 5
Amber Owens 23:35.1 6 6
Heidi Murray 25:19.9 - 31
Lena Kaster 25:36.5 36
Elizabeth Lopez 28:02.8 - 61
Erin Dillon 28:35.4 - 66













  • The Trojans beat out the other Conference Carolinas teams for their fourth straight championship title.
  • Shona Blades finished first as the 2018 individual champion to earn Runner of the Year honors for the for the first time in her collegiate career.
  • Celine Ritter and Leah Hanle rounded out the top three as the two finished second and third respectively.
  • Amber Owens was the highest finishing rookie, coming in sixth overall, earning her the Conference Carolinas Freshman of the Year honors.
  • Six Trojans finished in the top-10 including four in the top-five.
  • Matt van Lierop, head coach of the Trojans, was named Conference Carolinas Coach of the Year.

Women's Cross Country All-Conference Carolinas Teams

All-Conference First Team
Shona Blades - Mount Olive

Celine Ritter - Mount Olive
Leah Hanle - Mount Olive
Kirstin Barton - King
Elise Tanner - Mount Olive

All-Conference Second Team
Amber Owens - Mount Olive

Hope Whisman - North Greenville
Kaleigh Roach - North Greenville
Sarah Rutto - Limestone
Julia Otranto - Belmont Abbey

All-Conference Third Team
Madison Lewellen - Southern Wesleyan
Kyra Hood - Southern Wesleyan
Brianne Heard - Lees-McRae
Mary Abbott - North Greenville
Maggie Rice - Southern Wesleyan


"A lot of history was made here in the pickle capital on Saturday, November 3rd," said Head Coach Matt van Lierop. "It was the first time we've ever hosted the Conference Championships, and was nice to show the campus community what we do, and how we do it. We had the best women's score in UMO history, with 17, as well as the best men's placing, going 1-11 (previous best 1-6), good for a perfect score of 15."


The Trojans will gear up for the NCAA Division II Southeast Regionals hosted by North Georgia set for November 17.