The women’s cross country team finished a triumphant and startling 13th place at the NCAA Division I Championships Nov. 19 in Greenville, S.C.

It was the best championship run ever by a Yale team.

Kate O’Neill ’03 set a new standard in Yale women’s running as she snared 11th place for the Bulldogs with a time of 20:58.11. This was the highest finish by a Yale runner in school history. The Bulldogs finished with a team total of 423 points.

Laura O’Neill ’03 finished 26th with a time of 21:13.22. Both sisters earned All-American honors for their runs at Greenville and improved dramatically on their finishes at last year’s finals. Kate moved up 20 places since 2000, and Laura advanced by six.

Lindsay Mitchell ’03, Amanda Brewster ’03 and Alexandra Sawicki ’04 followed the O’Neill sisters’ strong finishes and contributed to the 13th place finish.

Brigham Young University won the meet with a score of 62 points. Among Ivy League competitors, Columbia and Brown finished 22nd and 27th, respectively.

Yale’s team has been strong throughout the fall. In October, the Elis ran away with the Heptagonal Championship and became queens of the Ivy League. But a disappointing seventh place finish at the NCAA qualifiers threw doubt upon their chances of even appearing at Greenville. Yale received an at-large bid to the championships, and capitalized on its opportunity.

Head coach Mark Young emphasized Yale’s unusual standing among its competitors in the Division I finals. Because Yale is one of few teams that does not award sports scholarships, they were not expected compete with the top teams in America.

With all five top runners returning next year, the Bulldogs have the potential to better their successes in 2002.