With a career-best time, Belmont sophomore Mia Elbon won the Ohio Valley Conference Cross Country Championship Saturday morning.
Elbon finished nearly six seconds ahead of the 89-person field with a time of 17:24.96 in the 5k race.
Hours after winning the title, Elbon said she was still excited about the victory in Oxford, Ala.
“It’s pretty awesome,” she said. “It’s really cool being the conference champion.”
Women’s cross country coach Ashley Casavant said the win was something both she and Elbon were working towards throughout the year.
“She knew what she had to do today,” she said. “She knew she had a clear shot at winning this.”
Elbon attributed parts of the win, the first-ever Belmont championship in the OVC, to the recent training she had done, as well as the encouragement she got from her teammates and coach.
Her time was the best of any OVC conference champion since 2005. She was also the first athlete not from conference power Eastern Kentucky to take the title since 2008.
After the competition, Elbon was named to the All-OVC first team. She wasn’t the only Belmont runner who did well Saturday. The team combined for a second place finish in the race behind conference champion Eastern Kentucky.
“Mia was great, but we had some amazing performers two through eight as well,” Casavant said.
Graduate student Ashley Botham finished ninth in the race, and freshman Hannah Wittman also finished in the top 15. Both were named to the All-OVC second team for their performances this season.
In all, six Bruins were placed in the top 25 of the competition.
The cross country team’s next competition, the NCAA South Regional, will start Fri., Nov. 9 at Tallahassee, Fla.