Abigail Corrigan capped off a spectacular season Oct. 28, running her way into the record books.
The first-year cross country standout captured the individual title at the Landmark Conference championship, becoming the first Royal to accomplish that feat in women’s cross country program history.
“I was pretty happy with how it turned out,” said Corrigan, who earned Landmark Conference Performer of the Year and Rookie of the Year. “I wanted to go into the race with a lot of confidence because it was a pretty hard course. I wanted to be mentally confident to get through it.”
Corrigan edged out Elizabethtown College’s Kelsey Brady by two seconds down the final stretch, finishing the 6,000-meter course in 23:13.36. The victory marks Corrigan’s third individual title this season, helping the Royals take fourth among seven teams with 97 points.
The previous highest individual finisher from The University in a conference championship was Eileen Socorso, who took second at the 1996 Middle Atlantic Conference championship.
“My coach said to run smart, so I didn’t want to get out too fast,” Corrigan said. “I just stayed patient the whole race.”
Following Corrigan, fellow underclassmen rounded out The University’s top five finishers.
First-year runner Abigail Guziewicz placed 15th with a time of 25:14.94 and junior Emily Carr finished 27th in 26:58.64. Kerri Rafter finished 27th in 27:08.44, a personal best for 6,000 meters, and sophomore Amy Kaiser took 31st in 27:13.24.
The course at Standing Stone Golf Club in Huntingdon had more hills than the Royals had seen all season.
“It was a brutal uphill right in the beginning, and then toward the end of it there was an incline and then a sharp steep slope,” sophomore Eric Bartlett said. “Our coach always talks about rhythming the hills and not attacking it.”
Bartlett finished as The University’s top performer on the men’s cross country team Oct. 28, placing ninth in 28:30.01. The Royals matched their Landmark Conference preseason ranking, finishing fourth among six teams with 85 points.
“As a team we did what we wanted to do in terms of strategy,” Bartlett said. “Sometimes we tend to go out a little bit faster because we kind of get drawn into the race as most people do, but I think we all ran reasonable races.”
A group of three Royals came in shortly behind Bartlett. Sophomore Zachary Gutenkunst finished 15th in 28:57.01, senior Schuyler Smith finished 16th in 29:03.73 and first-year Jack Patwell took 17th in 29:04.33.
Patwell was the top first-year runner across the line, which earned him Rookie of the Year honors.
“I’ve been seeing him really improve lately, so I’m really happy that as a freshman he really found his place on this team,” Bartlett said.
Another first-year runner, Zachary Mean, rounded out the Royals’ top five on the 8,000-meter course, finishing 28th in 29:47.11.
Both cross country teams are back in action Saturday for the NCAA Mideast Regional Championship at Big Spring High School in Newville.