LANSING, Mich. – Annie Berry competed in the NCAA DIII National Cross Country Championships on Saturday, November 19, 2022. Berry took 67th place in a time of 23:06.3. The race was held at Forest Akers East Golf Course in Lansing, Michigan. The day was cold, with several inches of snow on the ground – conditions that haven’t been seen at the DIII Championships in the last twenty years.
How It Happened
Berry got out well from the gun, coming through the first mile in 48th place. In the National Championship race, the first 500m is usually quite decisive. With almost 300 of the country’s best runners in DIII toeing the line, a smart and aggressive start is needed in order for an athlete to position themselves well in the early stages of the race. The race is so congested that it is very difficult to move up throughout the course of the race if an athlete starts too far back from the front.
Over the next mile, Berry dropped back a bit to 69th place, and then moved up a few places to finish in 67th place. This was Berry’s first NCAA Championship race. The top 40 finishers at the National Championships earn All-American Honors. The 40th place finisher in this year’s meet ran a time of 22:44.6 – just 22 seconds ahead of Berry.
The course conditions of this championship race will be talked about for years to come. In the days leading up to the meet, Lansing accumulated several inches of snowfall – so much so that race directors had to plow the course daily for two days leading up to the event. Temperatures in the teens led to icy conditions on the course the day of the race. With cold temps, windy conditions, and an icy and snowy course, the majority of runners in the field did not race their fastest 6k time at the championship race – a reflection of less than ideal conditions. However, the possibility of having challenging conditions on race day is part of the sport of cross country, and is also what makes for the most memorable races.
What It Means
Berry’s 67th place finish is the best finish by a Boxer at the NCAA National Championships in the last 15 years, since Kelsey Owen’s 34th place in 2007. In fact, Berry has the fourth best finish by a Boxer in school history; a list of Pacific women’s NCAA finishes are below:
- Kelsey Owens, 34th place, 2007
- Sarah Smith, 37th place, 2004
- Kim Ball, 55th place, 1999
- Annie Berry, 67th place, 2022
- Shana Shosky, 99th place, 2004
- Kara Putman, 111th, 2021
- Stephenie Spencer, 121st, 2016
- Serena Wallace, 150th, 2018
- Stephenie Spencer, 195th, 2015
“I am really proud of Annie,” said head coach Bailee Krings. “She handled this race with a lot of confidence and grace. She set good goals and accomplished many of them. I was very pleased with her race strategy – she got out well from the gun and was able to race the right groups of people. I am happy she got to experience this, and I know the best is yet to come for her!”
Annie Berry will join the rest of the Pacific track and field team in January when they start their indoor track season.
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