Sophomore Joy Chirchir and senior Faith Linga had a 2-3 finish to lead The University of Toledo women’s cross country team to its second consecutive MAC Women’s Cross Country Championship title at the Ohio University Golf Course on Saturday.
Toledo, ranked No. 16 nationally, placed five runners in the top 10. Chirchir finished second in the 6K with a PR time of 19:36.9 and was followed by Linga, who clocked a PR time of 19:49.1. Senior Lou Trois finished sixth with a PR of 20:31.8, senior Emily Vining recorded a PR of 20:34.1 for an eighth-place finish and senior Madeline Vining rounded out the top-10 with a PR of 20:36.7.
Senior Julia Dames finished 13th overall, freshman McKinley Fielding finished her first conference race in 20th place, senior Paige Embaugh clocked in at 31st place and freshman Bailey Ranta followed in 32nd in her first conference race. Eight of the nine Rockets in the race set personal-best times.
Toledo’s 29 team points were 54 points ahead of second-place Ohio, which finished with 83 points. It was the eighth MAC Championship for the Rockets, and the second under Head Coach Andrea Grove-McDonough.
“I’m really proud of both of our programs,” said Grove-McDonough. “That was what we hoped to do today. Our goal was to put five in the top 10, so I feel really good about that. That group of women out there, I think the top-eight women are all national qualifiers as individuals at some point in their NCAA careers.
“It’s remarkable the depth the conference has right now upfront. Now, we’re trying to turn the page as quickly as we can and focus on trying to get ourselves into that NCAA race.”
Chirchir, Linga and Trois were named First-Team All-MAC, while Emily Vining, Madeline Vining and Dames were named Second-Team All-MAC. Grove-McDonough was named MAC Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season.
Toledo will next attempt to qualify for the NCAA Championship Meet at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional in Terre Haute, Indiana on Friday, Nov. 11.