Ludman Wins Individual Title, Devil Women Third a Centennial Championship
By Dennis Young
(Newville, Pa.) - Sophomore Taylor Ludman (Willow Street, Pa./Solanco) won her first ever Centennial Conference Championship, and the Dickinson women's cross-country team finished third in a hotly contested championship meet. While the four-plus inches dumped on eastern Pennsylvania caused many other sporting events in the conference to be canceled, the race was run as scheduled, ankle-deep in the white stuff. Times, therefore, were largely irrelevant.
The meet showcased three nationally ranked teams: #10 Johns Hopkins (looking to become the second team in conference history to win four straight cross-country championships), #20 Dickinson, and #29 Haverford. Through three runners, the teams were separated by a paper thin margin: Hopkins led with 20 points, and the other two teams were tied at 22. But Hopkins' last two scorers proved to be the difference, as they won the meet with 43 points. Haverford and Dickinson, with 52 and 69 points respectively, finished close behind.
Ludman's victory was extraordinarily impressive. She was the youngest runner to win the conference meet since Haverford's Emily Lipman, who finished second today, in 2009. And prior to today, her best finish in any conference championship, track or cross-country, was fourth place.
Second for the Red Devils was senior Catherine Campbell (Carlisle, Pa./Trinity). While fourth place was, perhaps, lower than Campbell's aspirations, it also added to her résumé of remarkably consistent performances at a remarkably high level. It was Catherine's seventh top-four finish at conference championship events since the start of her sophomore year.
17th overall, and a career-best third on the team, was sophomore Anne Dyroff (Wayne, Pa./Radnor). Then, about thirty seconds back, in 23rd and 24th place, were sophomore Sara Patterson (Houston, Texas/St. Johns School) and senior Merit O'Hare (Pittsburgh, PA/North Allegheny). After studying abroad last fall, O'Hare has returned to form to become a solid top-five runner for the Devils
The heaviest snowfall the city of San Francisco saw between 1976 and 2011 was exactly one inch. What exactly does this have to do with the Dickinson women's cross-country team? Well, sophomore Maeva Riley (Oakland, Calif./St. Mary's College) hails from nearby, and could be forgiven for being deterred by four inches of white precipitation falling from the sky. Instead, she had by far her best race of her life, finishing sixth for the Devils, and 27th overall. Her previous best standing on the team was 10th.
The Red Devils look to return to competition in two weeks at the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships, where the top two teams automatically qualify for nationals. The next three are eligible for at-large bids; Dickinson has made nationals every year since 2002. The meet will be held at DeSales University on Saturday, November 12.