Won Places 26th at NationalsBy Robin Evans
Debbie Won '00 put together her best race of the season at the NCAA Division III National Cross Country Championships Nov. 22. She finished in 26th place to earn All-American honors in her first National Championship effort.
Won got off to a great start and settled into the top 20 as the race funneled after 100 meters. Shortly after passing the one mile mark in a time of 5:45, she took advantage of a downhill and moved into tenth place. She held this through the second mile with an elapsed time of 11:45, but soon began to feel the fatigue of the quick pace and the overall stress of racing in the national championship. At the 2.5 mile mark Won appeared to have had a great deal of trouble focusing. However, she was able to pick up her pace and held off several contenders in the latter part of the race. Won's finished the course with an outstanding 18:38 despite the cold, windy and wet conditions.
All the New England runners fared well in the Nationals. The women's group earned a third berth for next year as a result of a seventh place finish by Middlebury College and an eighth place finish by Williams College. The individuals' performances earned four additional spots for New England, giving them eight total spots with the new formula for next year.
The men's group earned a fifth team because of the outstanding performance by Williams, Keene State College, Brandeis and Tufts.