TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - University of Northern Iowa junior Hayley Thomas earned the first All-MVC honor of her career on Sunday morning at the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Cross Country Championships, taking ninth place and leading the UNI women to a fifth-place team finish.
Thomas is the first Panther woman to earn all-conference honors at the MVC Cross Country Championships since 2008.
UNI's fifth-place team finish at LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course comes just one year after an eighth-place showing at the Valley Championships.
"Our women showed tremendous focus today and competed as tough as they possibly could," noted UNI head track & field and cross country coach Dan Steele. "Their hard work and competitive attitude has helped us make great strides in the women's program. The way they performed today truly represented UNI in a first-class manner."
The Panther women were picked seventh in the league's pre-championship poll, but climbed two spots in the team race behind several strong individual performances. UNI finished with 123 points as a team, while Illinois State claimed the women's team title with 44 points.
Thomas clocked in at 18:16.70 for the 5k course, cutting more than one minute off her previous season-best time in the 5k. Her new personal-best time puts her at No. 22 on the all-time cross country 5k list for UNI women.
Senior Jill Lageschulte placed 19th with a time of 18:41.60. Junior Lindsey Wilkins finished in 18:50.70 for 27th place, recording a season-best by more than 30 seconds. Junior Scotti Schon posted a season-best of her own, finishing in 19:00.00 for 31st place. Freshman Alex Wilson clocked a season-best by 30 seconds to take 37th place in 19:11.20.
The UNI men placed eighth as a team with 205 points, running at less than full-strength after battling injuries late in the season. Indiana State took home the men's team title with 34 points.
Junior Brett Egan led the Panther men, claiming a 12th-place finish with an 8k time of 25:35.50. Junior Ryan Krogmann was UNI's No. 2 finisher, taking 43rd place overall in 26:49.70.
Senior Brady Fritz placed 49th in 27:05.10, senior Brendan Thompson was 50th in 27:05.90, and freshman Terry Nielsen took 58th in 27:35.90 to round out the Panthers' scoring.