Labbe sets school record, Giguere & Bergeron earn personal bests in final race of the season
GORHAM, Maine – Freshman Julia Labbe (Turner, Maine) set a new school record and juniors Lora Giguere (Tolland, Conn.) and Ashley Bergeron (Berlin, N.H.) both set personal bests to lead the Plymouth State University women's cross country team to a 29th place finish at the NCAA New England Regional Cross Country Championships hosted by the University of Southern Maine.
The finish is a modest improvement from last year's result (32nd place), which was applauded by head coach John Ostler.
"Success for us each season is to leave it better than you found it," Ostler explained. "Moving up in the region is a fine way to end an excellent season."
Labbe was the team's top finisher, completing the 6K course in a school-record time of 24:01 to finish 158th in a field of nearly 400 runners. The rookie has been a regular scorer for the Panthers all year.
"Julia's spent a lot of time as an unsung hero in the middle of the scoring pack all season," praised Ostler. "I was happy to see her bounce back from an illness a couple weeks ago to end her season on the highest of notes, a school record."
Giguere was the second fastest Panther, crossing the finish line in 24:06 to set a new personal best by a full minute.
"Lora finally had a 6K she was really proud of," added Ostler.
Senior Rileigh Goulette (Saint Albans, Vt.) finished in 24:15, with junior Haley Dennis (Coventry, R.I.) and Bergeron rounding out the top five. Dennis ran a 24:45 race, with Bergeron setting a new personal standard of 24:50. The team also set a new school record for 1-5 spread of 0:49 for a 6K race.
MIT took the team title with 58 points, with Tufts (92), Williams (106), Middlebury (113) and Bates (150) rounding out the top five. Coast Guard freshman Kaitlyn Mooney (Manahawkin, N.J.) took the individual title, finishing in a time of 20:22. PSU was second among Little East Conference schools, finishing 32 points behind Eastern Connecticut State, but ahead of Keene State, Rhode Island College, UMass Dartmouth and Southern Maine.
Ostler expects the program to continue trending in the right direction as the team will graduate just one runner, though Goulette has been a major contributor in her four years.
"Today was bittersweet because it also marks the end of a great career for Rileigh," he said. "She has been a huge part of the culture we've created and, overall, is the best runner in the brief history of this program. Rileigh ran 26:23 in her first 5K at PSU four years ago. Today she ran 24:15 for a 6K! She epitomizes all that it takes to be a good student-athlete."
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