LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Loyola senior runner Gina Valgoi (Detroit, Mich.) crossed the finish line in 104th place on Saturday afternoon in the NCAA Women's Cross Country National Championships at Tom Sawyer State Park.
Valgoi, who was the first Ramblers female to ever qualify for the NCAA Nationals, finished the 6K course in 20:50.3, the second-fastest time of her career.
“I thought Gina competed very well,” head coach Randy Hasenbank said in a release from the school. “To be able to compete against so many other great runners and turn in the second fastest time of her career is a huge accomplishment."
The championship field featured 253 runners. Betsy Saina, a senior from Iowa State, took medalist honors with a 19:27.9 finish. With 114 points, Oregon won the team title.
“This experience has made me realize how truly blessed I am,” Valgoi said in the release. “It was the best possible way to end my collegiate career. I am so thankful to Loyola, my coaches and my teammates for their support. I would not have been this successful without them.”
Valgoi qualified for the National Championship by finishing sixth overall a week ago at the Midwest Regional in St. Louis, Mo. In late October, Valgoi took medalist honors at the Horizon League Championship Meet at the Wayne E. Dannehl National Cross Country Course in Kenosha, Wis., finishing just four seconds shy of the course record and crossing the line 58 seconds ahead of the runner-up. She was named the Horizon League Runner of the Week on Sept. 17.
While Valgoi's collegiate cross country career has come to a close, the senior now moves to indoor track, where she holds the school record in the 3,000m (9:35.39), and outdoor track, where she holds school records in the 5,000m (16:31.24); the 10,000m (33:53.81) and the 1,500m (4:24.37).