Middletown, NJ -- Defending champion Central Connecticut State placed four runners in the Top 10 to easily capture its second consecutive Northeast Conference Women’s Cross Country championship at Tatum Park this afternoon.
The Blue Devils recorded a score of 49 points and defeated St. Francis (PA), which collected 82 points. Host institution Monmouth University finished third (93 points) followed by Sacred Heart University (101 points), UMBC (138 points), and Mt. St. Mary’s (142 points). Former two-time champion Wagner College (146 points) was seventh while Quinnipiac College (193 points) was eighth. Robert Morris (226 points), St. Francis (NY) (296 points), Fairleigh Dickinson (313 points) and Long Island University (326 points) round out the team scores.
UMBC’s Jen Ecker (Ellicott City, MD) was named the Outstanding Performer a she won the individual title. Ecker, who broke free from the pack near the three-mile mark, covered the 5K course in a course-record time of 18:47.7, nearly eight seconds ahead of St. Francis (PA) runner Roberta Pickens (Cranbury Twp., PA/Seneca Valley), who finished in time of 18:55.3. Ecker broke the previous course record set by St. John’s Erin Hayes in 1998. Monmouth’s Lisa Flood (Red Bank, NJ/Middletown North) completes the top three covering the course in 19:05.5.
Heather Gardiner (Ontario, Canada/Brockville Collegiate Institute) was the top runner for Central Connecticut, placing fourth in 19:07.7 followed by Sacred Heart’s Heather Stockton (Clifton Park, NY/Shenendehowa) (19:16.40). The Blue Devils then went sixth and seventh with Kim Heiligman (Cheshire, CT/Cheshire) (19:16.4) and Kim Crowley (Westerly, RI/Westerly) (19:23.0), who was named the Freshman of the Year. Rounding out the rest of top 10 were Wagner’s Karina Acevedo (Middletown, NY) (8th - 19:25.9), Central Connecticut’s Shannon Lindberg (Southington, CT/Southington) (9th - 19:38.1) and Mary Beth Rollins (10th - 19:40.20) of UMBC.
Head coach George Kawecki of Central Connecticut was named the NEC Coach of the Year.