Kijowski first Cross Country runner in recent history to earn bid to nationals

Karina Graziani -

First Team All-RSC Women's Cross CountryPhoto by Robert Cifone


PITTSBURGH - Carlow University crossed a few "firsts" off the list Saturday at Schenley Park.

It was the University's first time hosting the River States Conference Cross Country Championships.

It was also the first time since the women's cross country program was reinstated in 2012 that a Celtic earned a berth to the NAIA National Championship.

Larissa Kijowski (JR/Dayton, Pa.) ran one of her best times of the year on Carlow's "home" course, finishing in 20:08 - enough to earn her sixth place out of 92 runners in the conference. The time also earned her All-RSC First Team honors and a bid to the national championship in Vancouver, Wash. on Nov. 22.

Kijowski led a strong Carlow team that placed 8th of 11 teams in the conference.

Kaitlynn Melvin (SO/Belle Vernon, Pa.) and Rachel Jones (SO/Holbrook, Pa.) placed 21st and 23rd respectively for the Celtics, finishing in 21:38 and 21:52. Senior Katie Winter (Pittsburgh, Pa.) earned the Champions of Character award for the Celtics, which is awarded to an athlete who best exemplifies the five core values of the NAIA: Respect, Responsibility, Integrity, Sportsmanship and Servant Leadership.

Point Park University won the women's title for the third year in a row with a team score of 55 and three top-10 finishes. Alyssa Campbell earned the individual title for the Pioneers with a time of 18:46.

Click here for more information about the NAIA national meet.

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