Pavlus Wins 2009 National Title, Saints Second Overall
St. Lawrence University junior Wendy Pavlus won the 2009 NCAA Division III individual national championship on Saturday at a soft and hilly Highland Park Golf Course in Cleveland, OH. The Tupper Lake, NY native ran an incredible race, winning by nearly 30 meters ahead of Bethel's Marie Borner. Senior co-captain Johannah Ludington and sophomore Jenna Hulton each earned their first collegiate All-America honors as well, helping the Saints to second place overall in the team rankings.
Pavlus finished with a time of 21:28, a full 17 seconds ahead of Borner and Wis.-Oshkosh's Ayla Mitchell. Pavlus was followed by Ludington, who turned in a 12th place overall finish in 22:28 and Hulton, who was 15th overall out of 279 runners in 22:31.
For the second consecutive week, junior Megan Derby delivered a monster finish to help secure the program's best finish in its history. Derby, who was 9th at the regional race, was 40th overall on Saturday, narrowly missing All-America honors. Her time of 22:56 all but assured St. Lawrence of a top-5 finish. First-year student Jackie Lemme completed the team's scoring in 181st position, 132nd for points, bringing the Saints' total to 180 points, nine more than 2009 National Champion Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
"I wasn't 'planning' on winning, but my fast start gave me the confidence to win from the beginning," said Pavlus, who was surrounded by TV cameras, proud teammates, coaches and friends at the finish line. "With the preparation we did, the weather favored my abilities to win today."
"I'm so proud of this team and so happy for Wendy (Pavlus)," said St. Lawrence head coach Mike Howard. "She's worked hard every day since arriving at St. Lawrence, and this really is a climax for that dedication."
Sophomore McKayla Nuffer (185th, 24:23) and senior Hillary St. John (227th, 25:00) rounded out St. Lawrence's line-up in the NCAA Championship race.
After the event, Pavlus was awarded her championship trophy as the Saints were honored as the event's runner-up. Pavlus also took home the hardware for the 2009 USTFCCCA Women's Athlete of the Year. Click here to read the USTFCCCA's release regarding that award.