STANDISH, Maine – Norwich University tallied 66 points to claim the 2014 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Women's Cross Country Championship at Saint Joseph's College on Saturday afternoon.
With all five scorers in the top 23 individually, Norwich managed to edge Emmanuel College by one point en route to claiming the GNAC women's cross country title for the first time in program history. Sophomore Chapel Gaurnieri (Pepperell, Mass.) paced the Cadets and claimed top individual accolades with a 20:49 performance, five seconds ahead of Saint Joseph's senior Heather Eaton (Lincolnville, Maine).
Monks senior Amber Dostie (Standish, Maine), the winner of the last three GNAC Championship races, finished third with a 21:02 time, Emmanuel senior Martina Benassi (North Haven, Conn.) placed fourth with a 21:07 effort, and University of Saint Joseph sophomore Kaneen Gomez-Hixon (Wethersfield, Conn.) raced to a fifth-place finish with a 21:31 performance.
Simmons College placed third with 75 points, Johnson & Wales University finished fourth with 82 and Saint Joseph's was fifth with 112. Anna Maria College (141 points), University of Saint Joseph (175), Mount Ida College (257), Lasell College (265) and Suffolk University (293) rounded out the field of 10 scoring programs. Rivier University also competed in the event but did not score.
With the individual victory, Guarnieri collected GNAC Runner of the Year honors while Benassi claimed GNAC Rookie of the Year accolades after finishing as the top first-year runner. Emmanuel Head Coach Tony DaRocha was selected, by a vote of his peers, as the GNAC Coach of the Year.
For Saint Joseph's, sophomore Marie Harrington (Limerick, Maine) placed 26th (22:39), junior Grace Dancoes (Falmouth, Maine) finished 36th (23:12), junior Riley Jones (Winslow, Maine) was 61st (24:46), and senior Audrey Curry (Perry, Maine) raced to a 62nd-place finish (24:47). Sophomores Kristina Schelling (Pelham, N.H.) (67th, 25:17), Marisa Lundy (Merrimac, N.H.) (79th, 26:26) and Meghan Fullarton (Windham, Maine) (100th, 34:23) also competed in the championship race.
Women's Runner of the Year - Chapel Guarnieri, Norwich
Women's Rookie of the Year - Martina Benassi, Emmanuel
Women's Coach of the Year - Tony DaRocha, Emmanuel
Chapel Guarnieri (So.), Norwich
Heather Eaton (Sr.), Saint Joseph's
Amber Dostie (Sr.), Saint Joseph's
Martina Benassi (Sr.), Emmanuel
Kaneen Gomez-Hixson (So.), Univ. of Saint Joseph
Kara MacLean (Jr.), Simmons
Kristen Caroselli (So.), Johnson & Wales
Haddie Lary (Fr.), Norwich
Kristen Decesare (Sr.), Johnson & Wales
Maureen Moore (So.), Anna Maria
Saint Joseph's College is Maine's only Catholic liberal arts college, providing a supportive, personalized and career-focused education for more than 100 years. From its 430-acre campus on the shores of Sebago Lake, the College offers more than 40 undergraduate programs to a population of approximately 1,000 students. Saint Joseph's College Online provides certificates, undergraduate and advanced degrees for working adults through an online learning program. For more, visit www.sjcme.edu.