BETHLEHEM, Pa. -
Led by Jess Palacio's individual title, the Navy women's cross country team won the Patriot League championship on Saturday in Bethlehem, Pa. The Mids endured a wet, snowy course but held off Bucknell by just three points, 53-56, to claim their first league title since 2008.
"Everybody raced tough today in some pretty harsh conditions," said Navy head coach Karen Boyle, who was named Patriot League Coach of the Year for the third time. "I'm extremely proud of everybody. It's great to see that all our hard work paid off.
"The course was covered with snow and very slick - there were quite a few falls, but we stuck with it."
Palacio became Navy's first individual champion since Amy Watson in 2008 as she completed the 6k course on Saturday in 21:56.1. Palacio's time was nearly 10 seconds faster than second-place finisher Katherine Pierce of Lehigh as she claimed the ninth individual title of her career.
"Jess ran a really smart, tactful race today," said Boyle. "She made a smart pass and was able to hang on."
With the championship, Palacio claimed the third First-Team All-Patriot League honor of her career. She is the first three-time, First-Team All-Patriot League honoree in Navy history.
Rookie Shannon Cuthbert (23:09.8) and senior Katie Taylor (23:10.7) completed Navy's scoring five when they finished nearly one second apart in 16th and 17th place, respectively. Cuthbert and Taylor ensured the win for Navy as they held off Bucknell's fifth-place runner, Melissa Smith, who finished a spot behind in 18th with a time of 23:14.4.
In placing ninth, Byrne earned the second All-Patriot League Second Team honor of her career.
Beveridge was the top-finishing freshman on Saturday and earned Rookie of the Meet honors as well as Second-Team All-Patriot League accolades.
With the Navy men also winning on Saturday, it marks the second time since 2008 that both the Mids' men's and women's teams won their respective conference titles in the same year.
Navy, which now has three Patriot League titles since 2007, will have next weekend off to prepare for the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship, which takes place Nov. 12 in Princess Anne, Md. The top-two teams at the regional championship will advance to the NCAA Championship.