DEFIANCE, OHIO – Ryann-Rebecca Montgomery saved her best performance for last, as the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology senior’s school-record 6-kilometer time of 22 minutes flat captured her first Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference cross-country championship Saturday at Defiance College.
Montgomery (Lafayette, La./ Episopal School of Acadiana) topped second-place finished Hillary Cain (22:28) of Franklin College by 28 seconds to give the Engineers their first women's cross country conference champion since Melissa Rogers in 2008. Montgomery’s time of 26:00 is the third-fastest in HCAC history.
The senior – named the HCAC’s Most Valuable Runner -- ran stride-for-stride with Cain of Franklin for the first four kilometers, then broke away over the final two kilometers to capture the victory with a 90-second personal-best.
“We were neck-in-neck up until that point (the 4-kilometer mark),” Montgomery said of Cain, the two-time defending HCAC champion. “But I knew (I had it) when she didn’t stay with me.
“It was nice – a good way to end my senior year.”
First-year coach Geoff Wayton said he told Montgomery that she had a chance at winning the HCAC title after the first meet of the year. Wayton said she didn’t quite believe him, at first.
“I told her I think you can win the conference meet, and she gave me a funny look,” Wayton said. “Here we are six months later…To win a conference meet against the two-time defending champ by 28 seconds is pretty phenomenal.”
Rose-Hulman placed sixth in the team standings with 144 points. Hanover won the HCAC team title with 47 points, holding off second-place Manchester (56 points) to win its fourth team championship.
Junior Anna Taylor (Owensburg, Ky./Apollo) was the Engineers’ second runner across the line in 22nd place, finishing with a time of 24:45. Junior teammate Ashley Schumacher (St. Louis, Mo./Lutheran South) was 41st (25:35), freshman Emilie Hobbs (Peru, Ind./Peru) came in 43rd (25:38) and Austin Mroz (Chicago, Ill./St. Ignatius) was 72nd (27:11) to round out RHIT’s top five.
Schumacher was also voted to the league’s All-Sportsmanship Team, as voted on by HCAC coaches.
2013 HCAC WOMEN’S CROSS-COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIP
1. Hanover, 47; 2. Manchester, 56; 3. Franklin, 98; 4. Anderson, 111; 5. Earlham, 141; 6. Rose-Hulman 144; 7. Bluffton, 174; 8. Defiance, 191; 9. Transylvania, 253; 10. Mount St. Joseph, 310.
1. Ryann-Rebecca Montgomery, 22:00; 22. Anna Taylor, 24:45; 41. Ashley Schumacher, 25:35; 43. Emilie Hobbs, 25:38; 72. Austin Mroz, 27:11; 75. Kathleen Boyce, 27:18; 90. Madison Thompson, 29:03; 98. Claire Stark, 29:47; 101. Ellen Owens, 30:27.