After numerous top-10 finishes this fall, the women’s cross-country team added another successful performance under its belt Saturday, finishing 16th at the NCAA Pre-Nationals in Terre Haute, Ind.

The Bulldogs opened their season with a second-place finish at the Fordham Invitational Sept. 11, following it up with a third-place finish at the Quinnipiac Invitational Sept. 24 and a seventh-place finish at the Paul Short Invitational Sept. 25. More recently, they finished seventh at the New England Championships Oct. 8. But of all this fall’s competitions, Saturday’s may prove to be the most important.

“It is a very important meet for our team,” Katie Matlack ’06 said, “The teams we beat at pre-nationals will decide our ranking later in the season, which could determine whether or not we make nationals.”

Cara Kiernan ’07 and Lindsay Donaldson ’08 were the first Elis to cross the finish line, finishing 19th and 20th with times of 21:11.0 and 21:11.3, respectively.

The tandem was followed by Susan Chan ’05, who finished 115th with a time of 22:18.1, captain Anne Martin ’05, who finished 159th with a time of 22:44.2, and Claire Hamilton ’07, who finished 170th with a time of 22:48.1.

Rounding out the Bulldogs, Vanessa Everding ’05 and Katherine McKinstry ’07 finished with times of 23:20.1 and 23:43.9, respectively.

Yale finished with 483 points. Princeton achieved seventh place and Columbia finished 11th. Stanford took first for the day with 49 points.

With the Elis’ performance in Indiana having such an impact on their future, there is a significant amount of pressure that accompanies the competition. But the Elis showed few signs of nerves this weekend while competing against some of the best teams in the country.

“We got a chance to race against some of the top Ivy League and Division I teams and experience a new course that will host NCAA nationals and pre-nationals for the next few years,” Kiernan said.

Kiernan was pleased with the Bulldogs’ performance.

“I thought we focused well, worked hard and helped each other get through various hard parts of the race.” she said. “I think this race showed how much depth and potential we have as a team.”

The Bulldogs return to action at the Heptagonal Championships Oct. 29 at Van Cortlandt Park in New York.