For the first time since 2002, EMU had a women's runner at the NCAA National Cross Country Championships. Sophomore Hannah Chappell-Dick (Bluffton, Ohio/Bluffton) made her first-ever appearance at the national race, crossing in 23:35.2 on the 6k course in Hanover, Ind.
There were 280 women at the national meet, and as could be expected in such a crowded field, Chappell-Dick ran near other racers throughout the entire course. She finished within a single second of three other competitors, crossing second out of that foursome to claim 221st overall.
Third-year coach Jason Lewkowicz was on hand with his runner, along with teammate Jolee Paden (St. Joseph, Ill./St. Joseph-Odgen).
"I was excited to get to witness Hannah take part in a national championship experience," said Lewkowicz. "Many times, when it is your first time, all of your excitement surrounding the event can be overwhelming. Hannah got a little caught off guard by that, but bottom line is that she accomplished a goal of making it to the national meet and did so with no summer training which makes what she did all the more impressive. She has a tremendous amount of talent and this is the beginning of what should be many more championship experiences for Hannah."
Chappell-Dick is the first Eastern Mennonite female runner to qualify for nationals since Andrea Good in 2002. Good was inducted into the EMU Hall of Honor earlier this fall.
With a couple of weeks off before the indoor track & field season starts, Lewkowicz said this provides a good transition.
"It was great to have EMU represented at the NCAA meet by Hannah and it moves our program one step closer to where we want to be," he explained. "We give God all the glory for our accomplishments as a team, and we'll continue to place our focus on honoring Him as we move into the track season."