Lincoln, Neb. / Pius X
The St. Thomas women's cross country team traveled to South Bend, Ind., to compete in the National Catholic Championships and the trip was well worth it. Not only did the Tommies finish third among teams in the Non-D-I Division, but senior Erin Statz (Lincoln, Neb./Pius X) turned in an impressive individual performance. She was the top Division III runner in the field, and seventh overall behind six scholarship runners. For her performance, Stats was honored Tuesday by the MIAC sports information directors with her second MIAC Women's Cross Country Athlete-of-the-Week award of the season.
Statz completed the 5K course in 17:47 to finish seventh among 288 varsity runners, and she clocked the best time of Division III runners in field that also included Division I, II and NAIA competitors. She was second among non-Division I runners and one of just 10 runners to break 18 minutes. One of the teams St. Thomas finished ahead of in the non-D-I Division was 18th-ranked Division II Lewis. Statz has now won Athlete-of-the-Week awards two of the last three weeks to start her senior season on a high note.
Thanks to the performance at the National Catholic Championships, the Tommies moved up to No. 3 this week in the Central Region rankings. Statz and her teammates will have another big stage to compete on this weekend in Falcon Heights, Minn. St. Thomas will compete in the University of Minnesota's Roy Griak Invitational Saturday at 9 a.m. The Griak is one of the premier area college cross country races each season.