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Iagnemma takes 18th place finish at NCAA Championships

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Second-year Lauren Iagnemma earned her first ever All-America honors due to her performance at the NCAA Championships.

In Newville, Pennsylvania, second-year Lauren Iagnemma was the sole representative of the Case Western Reserve University cross country teams on the brightest stage of the season. Running among the top Division III athletes in the nation, Iagnemma came in at 18th place at the NCAA DIII Championships on Nov. 18.

To qualify for the National Championship, Iagnemma and fellow Spartan runners competed in the NCAA DIII Great Lakes Region Championship on Nov. 11. Iagnemma notched a second place finish out of 269 runners with a career-best time of 20:43.9 in the women’s 6K race. She finished just a tenth of a second behind the regional champion Meghan Owens of Centre College. Her career best time, which was 49 seconds faster than her previous mark, earned her the first All-Region honor of her career.

Fourth-year Grace Jackson was the next CWRU runner to finish, coming in at 33rd with a personal record of 21:50.5, also earning All-Region honors for the second straight season. The remaining five CWRU athletes also notched career-best times: second-year Arianna Holbrook at 48th (22:15.1), third-year Marquis Globokar at 66th (22:32.6), second-year Ayla Grabenbauer at 72nd (22:37.0), second-year Julia Hluck at 94th (23:02.1) and Anna Avila at 116th (23:26.1).

Overall, the team earned an 8th place finish out of 40 total teams, recording a score of 221. Calvin University won the meet with a score of 90.

The men’s cross-country team also performed well, placing fifth out of 40 teams at the regional championship in Norton, Ohio. Fourth-year Stephen Henry crossed the finish line first for the Spartans, coming in at 26th out of 278 runners with a career-best time of 24:37.2. This was a 7.6-second improvement over his previous best time. Third-year Nate Gilbert came in next, taking 31st place in 24:42.9, beating his previous best time by 43.1 seconds. Henry and Gilbert both secured All-Region honors.

Third-year Aidan Nathan finished 36th (24:47.6), third-year Mike Lombardi came in 42nd (24:52.5), third-year Luke Kishna placed 47th (24:56.3), first-year Seth Tivakaran took 70th (25:09.1) and first-year Jacob Slater took 76th (25:13.5).

The men’s team scored 182 to earn fifth place at the meet. John Carroll University, who hosted the event, earned the title with a score of 69. The men’s team athletes did not receive bids to the National Championship.

Iagnemma traveled to Pennsylvania to compete in a field of 292 runners for the championship. She came in 18th after completing the distance in 21:25.6, which was the second fastest time of her career. Iagnemma paced the race very well. After the first mile, she was in 65th place (5:45.0) but moved to 34th in the second. By the 5,000-meter mark, she moved up to 25th and passed seven more runners to finish 18th.

The 18th place finish was the third-highest ever by a CWRU women’s cross country runner at the championship. CWRU alumni Justine Jeroski finished 11th in 2010 and Elaine Simpson came in 14th in 2009. The finish earned Iagnemma her first ever All-America honors, marking the ninth time in program history a Spartan earned All-America honors.

Fiona Smith of St. Benedict won the championship title with a time of 19:54.1. Carleton College took the team championship after scoring 151.

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About the Contributor
Puneet Bansal
Puneet Bansal, Sports Editor
Puneet Bansal (she/her) is a fourth-year student majoring in biochemistry and medical anthropology. She loves obsessing over food, spending time outdoors or annoying her friends. Hailing from the Bay Area, she is an ardent Golden State Warriors fan and finds it daunting to sport her Stephen Curry jersey around Cleveland.

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