King finishes 22nd at program's first NCAA Division II Championship

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - King College ran to a 22nd place finish Saturday at the 2010 NCAA Division II Women's Cross Country National Championship.

The Lady Tornado scored 567 points, just four behind Western Oregon University and 15 outside 20th position which was grabbed by the University of Alabama-Huntsville.

Kendra Sokol (Kingsport, Tenn.) finished 107th overall in the field of 187 runners as she covered the 6,000-meter course in 23 minutes and 38.1 seconds. Danielle Beauvais (Danville, Va.) followed in 123rd, 13 seconds behind Sokol. Carrie Nelson (Independence, Va.) crossed the line at the 24:01.7 mark, good enough for 133rd. Close behind was Hannah Witt (Mountain City, Tenn.) in 24:15.6. Evan Ferrell (Richlands, Va.) rounded out the Lady Tornado Top-5 with a run of 24:38.1.

Grand Valley State (Mich.) University placed five runners in the Top-20 for the team championship with 66 points. It was the first women's title for Grand Valley State who entered the event ranked No. 3 by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Western State (Colo.) finished second, three points better than Adams State (Colo.), the winner of the previous seven national crowns and 15 in all since 1992.

Shippensburg (Pa.) University's Nelly Spence won the individual national title by 15 seconds with a run of 20:41.2.

This was just the second 6,000-meter race for King this season as the Lady Tornado also ran the distance at the NCAA Division II Southeast Region Championship two weeks earlier.

Saturday's race was the first NCAA Division II National Championship for any King team in the institution's first season as a NCAA Division II member.

Fellow region member Queens (N.C.) University of Charlotte finished ninth.

The championship was held at the E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Ky. on a snow-covered trail. The Louisville area saw snow that piled up for all the athletes.