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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Montgomery and Fletcher finish top 40 in NCAA cross country championships

Texas A&M cross country seniors Grace Fletcher and Hillary Montgomery traveled to Terre Haute, Ind. to compete in Saturday’s NCAA cross country championship race. The pair earned All-American honors. They were selected after their eighth and ninth-place finishes in last week’s South Central Region qualifier.
“Watching these two young ladies and seeing their progression from where they started with us and where they are right now has been fabulous,” said Texas A&M head coach Pat Henry. “Coach McRaven has done a great job of bringing them along and doing the things they need to do to get to this point. I’m just elated for both of them.”
253 runners competed in the 6,000 meter race on the LaVern Gibson Championship Course. Fletcher claimed 29th overall, crossing the line in 20 minutes, 36.9 seconds. Her teammate and roommate Hillary Montgomery finished 39th with a time of 20 minutes, 43.7 seconds. It was Montgomery’s second chance to run in the championship after being selected last year as a junior. She took advantage of the opportunity, greatly improving on previous season’s 190th place finish after recovering from an early fall in the race.
“Prior to the race I was nervous, but also super excited to race especially having a teammate to be able to give me that confidence during the race,” said Fletcher. “I think we used each other to our benefit. I had an idea near the finish that I was in a good position, but I also knew it was going to be a battle. In the last 2k everyone was going to fight for those spots. It was an awesome experience and I was really excited when I found out that Hillary earned All-American honors as well.”
This marks Texas A&M’s tenth consecutive season to send a team or individual to the championship race. The Aggie women have not finished with two runners in the top 40 since the team competed in 2000.
“It’s really exciting to have both finish the race that well and earn All-American,” A&M assistant coach Wendel McRaven said. “We’ve talked a lot about doing what you’re capable of doing and they both accomplished their goal today. I couldn’t be more proud of them because they showed up and raced. They ran their race and took care of business.”
Iona’s junior Kate Avery claimed the women’s individual title posting a time of 19:31.6. The first SEC runner to finish was champion Dominique Scott of Arkansas in sixth place with 20:01.3. Montgomery and Fletcher were the fourth and fifth SEC finishers. This race concludes the 2014 cross country season.
“At the finish I knew I either made All-American or just missed it,” said Montgomery. “Coach McRaven and my parents did a great job hollering out which place I was at different stages of the race. I knew this was my last race in cross country and I knew I had a little more I could give.

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