Johns Hopkins women's cross country team with NCAA championship trophy

Image caption: The Johns Hopkins women's cross country team hoists the NCAA championship trophy in Louisville, the team's sixth national title in the past eight years.

Credit: Larry Radloff

Cross country

Back on top: Johns Hopkins races to sixth NCAA title

Seniors Samantha Levy, Rebecca Grusby, and Kristin Meek help Blue Jays women's team earn its sixth national championship in eight years; junior Jared Pangallozzi paces men to program-best fifth-place showing

A year after falling just short of its ultimate goal, the deep and determined Johns Hopkins women's cross country team climbed back to its familiar place on the NCAA championship stage.

Senior Samantha Levy placed 17th overall—her best-ever finish at nationals—and Rebecca Grusby (21st) and Ariel Keklak (23rd) also posted top 25 finishes to garner All-American honors as the Blue Jays captured their sixth NCAA Division III women's cross country championship in the past eight seasons.

Hopkins finished with 125 points, 13 points better than runner-up Washington University. A year ago, it was Washington that topped JHU by a single point at nationals, denying the Blue Jays a third consecutive NCAA title.

"To be able to get back on top after last year is very rewarding," Johns Hoopkins coach Bobby Van Allen said.

"I am so happy for our seniors and how things finished for them. For Sam and Rebecca to earn All-Americans and help lead us to another championship is really awesome."

Senior Kristin Meek and first-year runner Katharine Priu, a late-season standout, rounded out the top five for Hopkins, placing 41st and 76th, respectively. Meek passed five runners in the final stretch run, and Priu moved up nine spots over the final two kilometers of the muddy 6K course at E.P. Tom Sawyer Park in Louisville, Kentucky. Full women's results

With its six titles, Hopkins is now tied for the second-most all-time in Division III history, one behind SUNY Cortland's seven.

"Each championship is special in their own right," Van Allen said, "but to earn the sixth just feels great."

Men's cross country

It was also a breakthrough day in the men's race, as Johns Hopkins earned its first-ever top-five finish at nationals behind a fourth-place finish from junior Jared Pangallozzi.

The Blue Jays scored 208 points to place fifth, three spots better than the program's previous best finish of eighth in 2016.

Pangallozzi, who placed 12th at nationals a year ago, ran in the top 10 throughout the race and gradually worked his way into the top five, covering the 8K course in 24:31.7.

"Jared was simply unbelievable," Van Allen said. "To run the time he did in the conditions and against the runners faced was top-to-bottom one of the best races I've seen, and he proved that he's one of the top runners in the country."

Johns Hopkins junior Jared Pangallozzi crosses the finish line

Image caption: Johns Hopkins junior Jared Pangallozzi placed fourth in the men's 8K race to lead the Blue Jays to a fifth-place finish, the best in program history.

Image credit: Larry Radloff

First-year runner Declan Hines continued his strong finish to the season for JHU, finishing 43rd, and junior Conner Delahanty placed 63rd. Sophomore Sean Laidlaw was 67th, and junior Patrick Dye rounded out the top-five for JHU 81st. Full men's results

Pomona-Pitzer Colleges won the overall championship with 164 points, 18 ahead of perennial powerhouse North Central (Ill.). Top-ranked Williams finished third, one point behind North Central and 10 points ahead of fourth-place Washington University.

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Tagged cross country