CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa—The Fire women’s cross country team put in an impressive performance in the NAIA National Championships to finish 29th overall, led by freshman Julia Rohm, who bested Southeastern’s program record in the 5K race.
Frigid conditions seemed to assist Rohm, as the Riverview, Fla. native was the first member of the team to cross the finish line, crushing her personal record by 15 seconds and setting a new SEU program record by seven seconds with a time of 18:08.1. In her first year of collegiate racing, Rohm placed 35th in the nation and came within All-American status by seven seconds.
Just over a minute later, Kelsi Ogilvie, the previous program record holder, finished her race with a time of 19:14.2. Within seven seconds of Ogilvie, fellow sophomore Raeanna Pabon crossed the line at 19:21.5 as the third Fire runner.
All three of the top SEU runners climbed in position after the one-mile split. Rohm advanced 19 positions, while Ogilvie and Pabon improved 18 and 22 spots, respectively.
Macy Peterson then crossed just prior to the 20-minute mark, posting a 19:56.9 time. Following Peterson was junior Jenycha Rivera with a time of 20:19.7 before Maddison Welch, who ended the race at 20:28.6. Ellie Palm rounded out Southeastern’s lineup with a time of 21:23.1.
This marked the second consecutive season the SEU was invited to the National Championships, which features the best 36 squads in the country. The young team will look to build on this performance in the coming years, as the Fire’s top four runners were underclassmen.