Shorthanded Panthers still earn program's best finish
KEENE, N.H. – Despite missing two runners due to illness, the Plymouth State University women's cross country team earned a second place finish at the Little East Conference (LEC) Women's Cross Country Championship Saturday at Keene State College. PSU finished just eight points behind team champion Eastern Connecticut State.
Junior Haley Dennis (Coventry, R.I.) led a trio of Panther runners to top-ten finishes and All-Conference honors. Dennis finished the 5K race in a time of 19:46, the third fastest time of the day. Senior Rileigh Goulette (Saint Albans, Vt.) and junior Lora Giguere (Tolland, Conn.) finished sixth and tenth respectively, with both earning All-Conference recognition.
"I was very proud of our effort, attitude and resiliency today," said head coach John Ostler. "It stings not to win because you never want to miss opportunities when you are so close to the top, but even in defeat our program took a huge step forward today."
The Panthers' second place team finish was the best in program history. PSU placed fourth in 2016, finishing 79 points behind champion Keene State.
ECSU earned 50 points to clinch the championship, the first-ever team title for the Warriors. PSU was a close second with 58 points, while Rhode Island College (87 points), Southern Maine (95 points) and UMass Dartmouth (102 points) rounded out the top five.
Freshman Jessica Ewing (Amherst, N.H.) and junior Ashley Bergeron (Berlin, N.H.) both added top-twenty finishes. Ewing posted a time of 20:44 to finish 19th, just ahead of Bergeron's time of 20:52. Freshman Leanne Burgess (Bradford, Vt.), junior Danielle Ahern (Chelmsford, Mass.), sophomore Eve Bagley (Holliston, Mass.) and freshman Lumei Abatangelo (Southampton, N.Y.) all crossed the finish line between 21:12 and 21:36, a gap of just 24 seconds.
PSU also had freshman Jamie Hazel (Saunderstown, R.I.), junior Jennifer Marcus (Eliot, Maine), junior Sydney Wacht (Nauset, Mass.), sophomore Car Maki (Barre, Mass.), classmate Victoria Nelson (Boxborough, Mass.) and junior Isabella Mongillo (Hamden, Conn.) competing.
Next up for the Panther runners are NCAA Regionals, hosted by the University of Southern Maine. PSU will have a week off to prepare, before hitting the course on Saturday, Nov. 11. Race time is set for noon.
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