EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. - - Belmont University women's cross country placed third at the 2019 Ohio Valley Conference Cross Country Championships Saturday morning.
Brisk but seasonal weather conditions greeted the 99 participants, with Belmont once again peaking like the fall colors.
As anticipated, it became a three-horse race between Eastern Kentucky, Eastern Illinois and Belmont; with all three squads laden with high finishers.
In the end, the Colonels' three top-nine finishers narrowly outpaced the Panthers and Bruins in one of the closest conference meets in history.
Only 16 placement points separated the top three schools, representing Belmont's closest finish to top billing since joining the OVC in 2012.
Belmont has now earned the medal podium four consecutive conference meets.
Schardt continued her exemplary form, placing sixth in a time of 18:04; the senior has earned all-OVC honors three consecutive seasons, including back-to-back first team.
Lax was close behind in 13th in a time of 18:29, and was named All-OVC second team.
"I am extremely proud of the ladies today," women's distance coach Kate Bucknam said afterwards. "This was a significant improvement from conference last year, and to see our depth across the board shine through was great to see. 16 points from first demonstrates how competitive conference was this year."
Belmont returns to action in two weeks time in the NCAA South Region meet in Tallahassee, Florida.
6. Kortney Schardt, Sr. - 18:04
13. Sierra Lax, Sr. - 18:29
15. Lilyan Hallum, Fr. - 18:32
16. Claire Cheeseman, Jr. - 18:36
20. Katie Flaherty, Fr. - 18:44
32. Anna Arrick, Jr. - 19:04
33. Zoe Goodmanson, Fr. - 19:05
48. Caroline Daniel, Jr. - 19:27
52. Maria Brauer, Sr. - 19:42
Our Women's 5K race is underway. pic.twitter.com/3u210hOqEb— OhioValleyConference (@OVCSports) November 2, 2019