Mary Pfeifer of the Wittenberg women’s cross country team made history this past Saturday by being only the second runner in the history of the program to make a third appearance in the Division III National Championship, held at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Pfeifer experienced a competitive race, finishing 68 out of 56 individuals and 32 additional teams, which placed her in the top five percent of all Division III runners.
The run did not start off as well as the senior had hoped, who was in 180th place after the first mile. It was at this point that Pfeifer looked on her senior experience that helped her dig deep and move up in the ranks.
By mile two, the NCAC champion rallied past 80 other runners, making her 100 runners back from first place.
“The challenge is every one of these runners is fast so it was hard to close the lead on the pack,” said Head Coach Craig Penney, “they were flying.”
In the end, Pfeifer was unable to finish in the top 35 which would qualify her for All-American, but the effort she put forth proved her veteran experience as she passed over 100 runners from the first mile to the finish line. Coach Penney expressed that he was very proud of her performance, given the way in which the race started out.
“She ran smart and aggressive,” said Penney.
The senior definitely made an impact in her time at Wittenberg with a vast array of athletic honors. Pfeifer has earned four first team All-NCAC awards as well as four All-Great Lakes Regional awards. She is a two time USATFCCCA (US Track Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association) Academic All-American and according to Coach Penney, probably the best runner to ever be a part of the women’s program here at Wittenberg.
(Ben Groff / firstname.lastname@example.org)