WINGATE, N.C. - The Lees-McRae women's cross country team captured the Southeast Regional Championship title for the second consecutive year to earn a trip to the 2008 NCAA Div II National Championships at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania Saturday, November 22, 2008. Three of the Lady Bobcats finished in the top fifteen runners to earn All Region honors.
Being ranked third for most of the season the Lady Bobcats surpassed all expectations when they dominated the race with 85 points, outdistancing runner-up Augusta State by 25 points and third place finisher Lenoir-Rhyne who finished with 158 points.
"What these young women did was fun to watch," Coach Craig McPhail said. "I know what they have been through, how hard they have worked, and how much they wanted this, so it was very gratifying to watch them win this regional."
Junior standout Carla Swart (Buford, Ga.) was the top finisher for Lees-McRae with a sixth place finish. Kira Shoemaker (Aiken, S.C.) and Gina Valenti (Washington, N.C.) finished 13th and 14th respectively. All three earned All Region honors for finishing in the top fifteen.
The Lady Bobcats won the NCAA DII Southeast Regional in 2001 and in 2007 with dominating performances. This year they started the season ranked as the No. 1 team but struggled early with fitness and some injuries, however they came on strong with a great performance Saturday.
Junior April Harris (Jonesville, Va.) finished fourth on the team in 27th place with junior Dana Lindholm (Weaverville, N.C.) in 40th place to round the Bobcats' scoring.
This marks the second time the Bobcats will go to Slippery Rock for the cross country national championships as the group in 2001 went there.
"I am proud of the girls. They ran fantastic today," head coach Craig McPhail said. "They have trained hard with dedication and determination."