Women's Cross Country Set To Take On The Nation

Nov. 19, 2015

2015 National Championship Notes | Live Results | Live Stream | Championship History

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The Providence College women’s cross country team will travel to Louisville, Ky. for the NCAA Cross Country Championship on Nov. 21. The Friars head into the meet ranked fourth in the nation according to the United States Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association’s (USTFCCCA) final national rankings poll of the season (Nov. 16). 

The Friars are coming off of a BIG EAST Championship title on Oct. 31 where the women swept the top-3 spots, as well as the programs fifth NCAA Northeast Regional title in the last 10 years after their win Nov. 13 at Franklin Park. Additionally, the Friars have been victorious in all but one race this season.

The Providence College women’s cross country team is no stranger to the NCAA Championships. This weekend will mark the programs 26th appearance at the Championships in the last 27 years. During that time, the team has finished among the top-5 teams in the nation nine times, including being crowned NCAA Champions twice (1995 and 2013), as well as two runner-up finishes in 1990 and 2012.   

Leading the Friars on Saturday will be two-time Cross Country All-American senior Sarah Collins (Basel, Switzerland). In each of her two past NCAA Championship appearances (2012 and 2013), Collins has helped the team to a second and first-place finish, respectively. Collins is coming off of a BIG EAST Individual Cross Country Championship title on Oct. 31, as well as a runner-up finish at the NCAA Northeast Regional Championship on Nov. 13 at Franklin Park. She will be looking to earn her third All-America honor this weekend.

Joining Collins will be the trio of sophomore Katie Lembo (Penfield, N.Y.), junior co-captain Catarina Rocha (Peadbody, Mass.) and senior co-captain Lauren Mullins (Binghamton, N.Y.). These three ladies each finished one after the other (ninth, 10th and 11th) with a six-second spread at the NCAA Northeast Regional. Rocha will be looking to earn her second All-America honor after finishing 33rd at last years’ NCAA Cross Country Championship. Rocha was a member of the National Championship team in 2013 and lead the Friars to a 13th-place finish last year.

Lembo and Mullins each will be looking to earn their first All-America honor, after helping the team to a 13th-place finish at last year’s NCAA Championship. In 2014, Mullins finished 67th as the second Friar across the line, with Lembo just two seconds behind Mullins in 70th-place.

Sophomore Briana Ilarda (Perth, Australia) will be Providence’s No. 5 runner on Saturday. Last year, Ilarda placed 153rd at the Championships and has made huge strides in her performances this season. She is coming off of Second Team All-BIG EAST and All-Northeast Region performances and will look to be as close to Rocha, Mullins and Lembo as she can.

Senior veteran Molly Keating (Rehoboth, Mass.) will look to add her experience, not only from racing on this course in 2012, but racing at the NCAA Championships, to the team on Saturday. Keating has appeared in each of the last three NCAA Championships, including being a member of the 2012 NCAA Cross Country Championship runner-up team and the 2013 National Championship team.

Junior Emily Bushey (Vernon, N.J.), who transferred from Louisville University after her 2014 cross country season, is very familiar with this course and has consistently been the Friars No. 7 runner this season. Bushey had a standout performance at the BIG EAST Championships in Mason, Ohio on Oct. 31. She made her way through the field over the last mile of the race to grab 20th-place, just two seconds behind teammate Molly Keating, which was good for All-BIG EAST Second Team honors.

Rounding out Providence’s top-8 will be sophomore Mackenzie Barry (Mendham, N.J.). Barry, even after missing the first few weeks of the season due to injury, has come back to consistently make the top-8 for the Friars. Last time out, Barry just missed All-BIG EAST honors at the BIG EAST Championship on Oct. 31 by six spots after finishing 26th.

The women’s race is scheduled to begin at 12:00 p.m. There will be a free live stream of the event. Additionally, live results can be found here. You can also follow @FriarsXCTrack on Twitter for live updates of the action in Louisville leading up to and the day of the race.




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