HAVERFORD, Pa. – The No. 24 Haverford College women's cross country team will run at the NCAA Division III Championship as a team for the 17th time in program history. The Fords have now made the NCAA Championship during eight of the past nine years and have been represented by at least one individual in 26 of the program's 31 seasons as a varsity team.
Hosted by Principia College in Elsah, Illinois, the women's championship race will get underway at 12:15 local time (1:15 p.m. EST) on Saturday. Links to follow the action live ($ for live stream) are available at the top of this article. Haverford's No. 24 ranking heading into the national championship matches its highest rank of the year which they first attained following the Rowan Inter-Regional Border Battle. The Fords qualified via an at-large bid after placing third at the Mideast Regional which ended up with five total teams selected to the championship field.
Leading the way to the finish all year for the Fords have been the senior trip of Katie Sullivan, Amelia Keyser-Gibson, and Nicole Giannetti. That grouping will all be making its third appearance at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. Another senior, Sarah Wade, is also a two-time qualifier but will be entered as Haverford's alternate should one of the seven competitors from the Mideast Regional be unable to compete.
Sullivan and Keyser-Gibson each earned the third All-Mideast Region honors of their cross country careers this past weekend, becoming just the 11th and 12th runners in Haverford women's cross country to accomplish that feat. Starting with the 2017 championship, the top 40 individuals will earn All-America accolades. Previously, the top 35 finishers had achieved All-American status at the nation meet. The last All-American in program history was Fiona Hendry '16 during the 2012 season.
Sullivan's best finish came last year when she placed 52nd at the national meet as the Fords were 23rd overall in the team standings. Keyser-Gibson has the highest returning individual place on the team as she was 46th at the 2015 championship meet with a personal best 6,000 meter time of 21:54. Both All-Americans in track & field, they will be searching for their first All-America honors in cross country.
Giannetti is coming off of earning her second consecutive All-Mideast Region accolade. The 2016 Centennial Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year improved nearly 50 positions last season from her championship debut in 2015 to place 135th in the field last fall.
First year Hannah Doll has been the team's fourth finisher during both the Centennial Conference and Mideast Region Championships. Making her NCAA debut this weekend, Doll ran a personal best 6,000 meter time of 23:15.70 at the Rowan Inter-Regional Border Battle. Sophie Drew was the team's fifth and final scoring runner at the regional. The junior will be making her NCAA debut as well after posting a personal best 6,000 meter time of 23:37.1 at the challenging Mideast Regional course just one week ago.
First year Hannah Yeakey was the Fords' fifth finisher at the conference meet and holds a personal best time of 23:28.50 which came during the Rowan Inter-Regional Border Battle. Sophomore Mckenna Krall recorded her personal best time of 23:54.5 at Rowan in 2016. She has been Haverford's seventh finisher in both of the postseason races this fall.
Haverford's best finish as a team came with a 10th place showing during the 1993 season. The Fords have finished in the top 20 during eight their previous 16 trips to nationals. A 13th place team finish in 2012 and 17th place showing in 2013 are the most recent additions to that run of top 20 success.