CHARLOTTE, N.C. – For the first time in school history, a King University cross country runner has won an NCAA Regional title.
Senior Hannah Witt finished the six kilometer NCAA Southeast Regional Championship in 21:46.0, nearly 26 seconds faster than her next closest competitor, to take the individual title. Witt led the race from start to finish, more than doubling her advantage from 10 seconds at the halfway mark.
With her win, Witt continues a dominant season for the Tornado. She will compete as an individual at the NCAA Division II Championship on November 23 in Spokane, Wash. as one of the top three individual finishers whose team did not qualify for the championship event.
"We're really proud of Hannah and all she's accomplished this season," said head coach Peter Dalton. "She's put in a lot of hard work and is very deserving of the chance to compete at the national championship meet."
Witt has been King's top finisher in every race this season and has not finished behind an NCAA Division II competitor all season. In six competitions this season, Witt has only been beaten by runners from East Tennessee State University and the University of South Carolina, along with two non-collegiate unattached competitors. She now owns the school record time on a six kilometer course and four of the top five times on a five kilometer course.
Witt was joined by three additional seniors among the top four finishers for the Tornado. Kendra Sokol finished 27th overall with a time of 23:17.6, while Eliza Parker was 42nd and finished in 23:38.8. Both Sokol and Parker gained eight positions over the final half of the race. Evan Ferrell finished 46th and picked up seven positions over the final three kilometers.
Freshman Tiffany Gargiulo was the final scorer for the Tornado. She finished in 58th position, seven spots higher than at the halfway point of the race.
Wingate University won the meet with a score of 75. Flagler College and Columbus State University scored 107 and 130 points, respectively, to round out the top three teams and advance to the NCAA Division II Championship. Clayton State University and UNC Pembroke finished fourth and fifth.