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Women’s Cross Country Places 12th at NCAA Championships
Nov. 18, 2017

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The five scoring runners for Villanova were separated by just 30 seconds at the finish line in another strong team effort and the Wildcats tallied a 12th place team finish at the NCAA Championships on Saturday morning. It is the best team finish since 2011 for Villanova, which was making its 29th appearance all-time at the national meet.

Junior Bella Burda (Pleasant Valley, N.Y.) led the Wildcats with a 65th place overall finish. She covered the 6,000 meter course at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park in 20:26.48 and was the team’s leading finisher for the fourth straight race. More than 60 runners crossed the finish line within 30 seconds of Burda’s time, as a crowded field of more than 250 runners stayed tightly packed throughout.

Villanova finished with 346 points in the team standings and came in just 28 points outside of a top-10 finish out of the 31 teams that earned berths to the NCAA meet. The national championships capped off what has been a strong season for the Wildcats, who won the BIG EAST title for a record 15th time last month and then came in second at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional to earn an automatic berth to nationals. Villanova is tied for the fifth-most appearances by a women’s team all-time at the championships.

Senior Siofra Cleirigh Buttner (Dublin, Ireland) and junior Nicole Hutchinson (West Vancouver, B.C.) were the second and third Wildcats across the finish line. Cleirigh Buttner posted a time of 20:37.31 and Hutchinson was close behind her in 20:37.75. Junior Kaley Ciluffo (LeClaire, Iowa) placed 97th in 20:40.05 and freshman Lauren Ryan (South Yarra, Australia) was the fifth scoring runner in 127th place (20:56.74). The other two finishers for Villanova were senior Katie Fisher (Uxbridge, Ont.) with a time of 21:01.05 and freshman Rachel McArthur (Bristow, Va.) with a time of 21:39.63.



This is the 18th time in 29 appearances at the NCAA Championships that the Wildcats have finished 12th or better in the team race. There were two BIG EAST teams in Saturday’s race, with Villanova coming in ahead of 16th place Providence (400 team points). In addition, the Wildcats finish was one place ahead of where they were ranked entering the meet.


Bella Burda                  65th of 255             20:26.48
Siofra Cleirigh Buttner      88th                    20:37.31
Nicole Hutchinson            90th                    20:37.75
Kaley Ciluffo                97th                    20:40.05
Lauren Ryan                  127th                   20:56.74
Katie Fisher                 138th                   21:01.05
Rachel McArthur              204th                   21:39.63