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In the first meet of the season, Samantha Thompson won her first individual race at the collegiate level.
Thompson (senior, biology) and the rest of her Indiana University of Pennsylvania teammates helped the women’s cross country team to another first, as the team attained their first-ever top 10 ranking in the latest United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association poll released Tuesday.
IUP is also ranked first in the Atlantic Region by the USTFCCCA. IUP moved up two spots from third to claim the top post.
“While the ranking is exciting, it means nothing yet,” said Thompson, who finished 12th at last weekend’s Michigan State Spartan Invitational. “The season is still early, and we have some great competition ahead of us.”
“It’s exciting for our women to be recognized for their hard work and the good start we are off to this season,” said Head Coach Joey Zins.
Shippensburg University, the five-time defending Atlantic Region champions, had held the top spot in the Atlantic Region rankings since 2009. Zins said he anticipates the Red Raiders to again be a tough team this year and expects the rankings to shift around from week-to-week due to the balance of the teams in the region.
“Our focus is just on improving every week and trying to stay as healthy as possible so we can be running our best at the end of the season,” said Zins.
Steph Beaudette (senior, natural science) finished third overall at the opening Seton Hill Griffin Classic and was 32nd at MSU.
“We, as a team, know we cannot rest on our laurels so we continue to work hard and remain focused on our end of the season goals,” said Beaudette. “It is very exciting to be considered one of the best teams in the country…we’re eager to rise to the occasion.”
Both the IUP men and women will be in action at home Saturday at the IUP Alumni Meet, which will also feature LaRoche College and alumni teams. Most of the top runners will be held out of the meet for IUP, according to Zins.