MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. – The University of Mount Olive women took home the 2018 Conference Carolinas Women's Cross Country Championship on Saturday (Nov. 3) morning. Trojan senior Shona Blades claimed the individual championship in the women's 6K race to earn Runner of the Year honors.
Mount Olive registered a score of 17 to earn its fourth straight team title. Second place went to North Greenville University with a team score of 70, while King University claimed third place with 86 points.
Southern Wesleyan University would notch fourth with 108 points. Belmont Abbey and Limestone College finished fifth and sixth with 122 and 169 points, respectively. Lees-McRae tallied 213 points for seventh and Emmanuel College placed eighth with 222 points. Closing out the race results are Barton College in ninth with 226 points, Converse College in 10th with 253 points and Erskine College with 295 in 11th.
Individually, Blades won Runner of the Year after running the 6K course in 22:38.4, while Freshman of the Year went to Mount Olive's Amber Owens after a race time of 23:35.1.
Mount Olive head coach, Matt van Lierop, was named Conference Carolinas Coach of the Year after leading the Trojans to their fourth straight conference championship.
New to the Conference Carolinas postseason award offering is the Elite 23 Award. The Elite 23 Award is modeled after the NCAA's Elite 90 Award, which is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumlative GPA at their respective championship site. The inaugural winner for women's cross country is King's Kaitlin Rivera. Rivera, a junior from Knoxville, Tenn., majors in english and sports a cumulative 3.934 GPA.
The top 15 finishers were named All-Conference Carolinas selections:
2018 Conference Carolinas Women's All-Conference Teams
All-Conference First Team
Shona Blades, Mount Olive
Celine Ritter, Mount Olive
Leah Hanle, Mount Olive
Kristin Barton, King
Elise Tanner, Mount Olive
Hope Whisman, North Greenville
Kaleigh Roach, North Greenville
Sarah Rutto, Limestone
Julia Otranto, Belmont Abbey
All-Conference Third Team
Conference Carolinas Women's Cross Country Champion:
University of Mount Olive
Runner of the Year:
Shona Blades, Mount Olive
Freshman of the Year:
Amber Owens, Mount Olive
Coach of the Year:
Matt van Lierop, Mount Olive
Elite 23 Award:
Kaitlin Rivera, King
Conference Carolinas is a NCAA Division II athletics conference made up of 11 teams from Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. These institutions consist of: Barton College, Belmont Abbey College, Converse College, Emmanuel College, Erskine College, King University, Lees-McRae College, Limestone College, University of Mount Olive, North Greenville University, and Southern Wesleyan University.