Cross country: Johns Hopkins women's team collects third consecutive Division III national championship

Junior Meehan places 6th, one of four Blue Jays among top 30

The Johns Hopkins women's cross country team captured its third consecutive NCAA Division III championship on Saturday at the Golf Center at Kings Island in Mason, Ohio, as four Blue Jays runners placed among the top 30.

Sophia Meehan

Image caption: Junior Sophia Meehan placed sixth to lead the Blue Jays.

The Blue Jays totaled 85 points to outdistance runner-up MIT, which had 112. St. Lawrence (138), Washington (Mo.) (180) and SUNY Geneseo (212) rounded out the top five. JHU is the first team to win three consecutive titles since SUNY Cortland won four in a row from 1992 to 1995.

Junior Sophia Meehan led the Blue Jays with a sixth-place finish. Meehan, who finished 85th as a freshman, clocked in at 21:47.2 to lead a pack of four Blue Jays in the top 29. Senior Ashley Murphy improved 31 spots on her 2013 run as she finished in 15th place with a time of 22:08.01; sophomore Tess Meehan, who placed 137th in 2013, earned 24th place as she crossed in 22:20.5; and senior Francis Loeb rounded out the Blue Jay All-Americans, finishing 29th with a time of 22:21.5.

Also for Johns Hopkins, freshman Bridget Gottlieb took 37th place in 22:28.2, junior Caroline Powers placed 98th in 23:12.3, and classmate Hannah Oneda—who returned last week after missing the majority of the season with an injury—placed 157th in 23:37.8.

"I am so proud of the way our girls stayed strong throughout the course of the race," JHU coach Bobby Van Allen said. "Before the race started, we talked about how important it was to stay focused throughout and that is exactly what they did. We talked about really being smart in terms of picking our spots to pick people off and move up in the race. They ran hard and smart, and proved they were worthy of the national championship."

For Sophia Meehan, who was the Blue Jays top finisher in six races this season. this is the third national title in three seasons.

"When I got to Hopkins this was not a thought at all, winning three straight national championships," she said. "I lived with Hannah [Oneda] our freshman year and we thought we could be good, and then when we won, we thought we could get another because the roster was pretty young and everybody was motivated.

"Winning the third is a big accomplishment. We expected to win, but we still needed to prove it. We knew this year would be the toughest year to win, so we knew we'd have to really perform well. But today everybody competed hard and ran well and we were able to win."

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Tagged cross country