The rise continues for the Barton Community College women's cross country team as the Lady Cougars improved sixteen spots from last season finishing 11th this past Saturday at the 2015 NJCAA Division I Cross Country Championship held at the Lakeside Municipal Golf Course in Fort Dodge, Iowa.
Lydia Mato's quest for an unprecedented 13th individual NJCAA title came up twenty-eight seconds short of standout Australian freshman Leanne Pompeani of host Iowa Central Community College. Running side-by-side through the first mile of the 5k (3.1 mile) race, Pompeani started to pull away in the second mile gaining an eight second lead then put the legs into overdrive adding another twenty second separation in the final mile for the victory. Pompeani finished in a winning time of 17:21.6 averaging 5:35.2 per mile while Mato paced at 5:44.3 a mile finishing in 17:49.7. Mato, who last season became just the fifth runner in Barton history to win the individual championship, was the only sophomore to place in the top five as freshmen runners took four of the top five spots.
Barton freshman Asha Douglas just missed All-American status by eight seconds finishing 18th overall and 11th in the freshmen class of runners in a time of 19:09.9.
Finishing third last season in the Lady Cougar lineup, Holly Pierce again crossed third for Barton shaving 1:15 off her 2014 national time moving up eighty-four spots in the standings coming in 76th in a time of 20:24.9. Fellow sophomore Kaitlynn Tuey just missed a repeat of a Top 100 finish coming 105th in 20:49.00.
Mariah Stein capped her first season of competition with a 21:50.6 181st place finish while sophomore Julee McAtee finishing her Barton cross country career with a 246th place 23:06.6 time. Emilykate Hopson-Boyd rounded out the Cougar runners coming in 270th in the freshman's time of 24:19.7.