Galligan Becomes First All-American In W&J Cross Country History
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Sophomore Kristen Galligan (Frederick, Md./Governor Thomas Johnson) became the first Washington & Jefferson College cross country runner (male or female) to earn All-America honors Saturday after claiming 12th place at the 2012 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships at Rose Hulman Institute of Technology's LaVern Gibson Course.
Galligan ran the 6K course in a time of 21:27.40, a mere 35 seconds behind national champion Christy Cazzola of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (20:53.30). The top 35 runners are selected as NCAA All-Americans. Galligan improved 167 spots from last year when she became the first female runner in school history to compete at the national championship. She also was only two spots and 1.1 seconds behind Mideast Regional winner Hannah Oneda of Johns Hopkins.
"I am very proud of both Kristen and Scott and their racing at the national championships," said Head Coach Shawn Marek, who has taken six W&J athletes to national championship events in his first two seasons at the college. "Both worked hard all summer and did the little things they needed to excel all season long."
Seven of the runners in front of Galligan were competing in their final collegiate race. Hannah Oneda of national team champion Johns Hopkins edged Galligan at the regional race by 5.6 seconds. However, Galligan was even closer behind on Saturday, finishing just 1.1 seconds behind Onada, the 10th-place finisher.
In addition to Galligan's historic day, senior Scott Ryan (Williamsville, N.Y./Williamsville East) capped his record-breaking career with a 142nd-place finish. He raced the 8K course in a time of 25:57.4. Wisconsin-Stout's Tim Nelson won the national title (24:26.8).
Ryan, the 2012 Presidents' Athletic Conference champion, was 175th last year at the NCAA Championships in the first male appearance by a W&J runner.
Both runners earned at-large bids into the national championship field after Galligan earned runner-up laurels, while Ryan placed 13th at the NCAA Mideast Regional.
Galligan's school-record 12th-place national finish caps a remarkable season for the sophomore runner. She became the first female runner in school history to win a Presidents' Athletic Conference Championship and followed that performance up with a runner-up showing, the highest ever by a President runner, at the NCAA Mideast Regional in Carlisle, Pa., two weeks ago.
Prior to the PAC Championship, Galligan posted back-to-back first-place showings at the Carnegie Mellon Invitational and the Oberlin Inter-Regional Rumble. She also secured the top time at the Waynesburg Invitational to raise her career total to four individual titles.