ashleymontgomery

In her final collegiate cross country race, senior Ashley Montgomery went out with a bang while taking 13th place individually at the NCAA Championships, leading Penn to a 24th-place team finish on the women's side.

Photo: File Photo / The Daily Pennsylvanian

It’s a fitting end to the career of an athlete who has been described as a “breakout.”

In her senior year, Ashley Montgomery led the Quakers to their first-ever appearance as a team at the NCAA Championship over the weekend at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Ind.

Montgomery led the team with a 13th place finish and an average pace of 5:23 for the six kilometer course, crossing the finish line in 20:07.1. The finish clinched a 24th place overall for the Red and Blue and earned Montgomery the title of All-American.

Not only was Montgomery’s race an historic achievement in her career, but it also made history for Penn Athletics: her race is now tied with Christine Lundy’s 1991 race as the best individual performance at the NCAAs.

Though this was the team’s first appearance at the championship, it was Montgomery’s second, following her appearance last year at the 2015 meet. She shaved 33 seconds off her performance from last year, which moved her up 60 places from just a year ago.

Overall, the Quakers earned a total of 520 points and finished with an average race time of 21 minutes. Following behind Montgomery were fellow seniors Cleo Whiting in 93rd and Clarissa Whiting in 125th.

Junior Abby Hong and freshman Erin Feeney rounded out the top scorers for the Red and Blue, finishing in 199th and 212th, respectively. Freshman Christina Rancan and sophomore Karli Visconto finished sixth and seventh for the team.

The men’s team did not qualify for the championship, but were represented by senior Nick Tuck, who earned a solo spot at the race after his finish at the Mid-Atlantic Regional earlier this month. Tuck finished in 207th in the 10k race, crossing the finish line with a time of 31:47.0.

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