The PLNU Women’s Cross Country team excelled at the PacWest Championships in Belmont, California on Oct. 21. The team tied Dixie State for fourth with 142 points. On top of tying for fourth, PLNU junior runner Hannah Benoit-Bucher and senior Alex Hernandez each broke a school record.
Benoit-Bucher, who individually placed fourth in the meet, became the first student-athlete to earn All-PacWest honors in back-to-back seasons. Hernandez placed 16th individually, and became the first PLNU Sea Lion to earn three All-PacWest honors.
While the week prior is usually reserved for resting, a lot of hard work was put into preparing for the championships two weeks prior, according to Hernandez. “We were working really hard, and coach had some challenging practices for us to prepare,” she said. “We had a really hard hill workout because we knew that this course in particular was really hilly.”
Along with Benoit-Bucher and Hernandez, rounding out the top five PLNU women runners were Mackenzie Harder (36th), Josie Frye (48th), Alyssa Stromsland (50th).
PLNU Women’s Cross Country made it all the way to nationals last season and placed 12th. The team also placed second in the PacWest Championships in the same season, but it is important to note that three of the scoring runners from 2016 did not compete in this year’s championships.
This season has not turned out the way the team had originally envisioned it would and some runners feel that they have not met their full potential. “We’ve had a lot of injuries this season, a lot of girls getting sick, and just getting injured, so I just think our main attitude is to give it our best each and every workout and every race and just see where that takes us,” said Benoit-Bucher.
Hernandez, as a senior, is really proud of her efforts and hard work she’s put into this season. “I think, being a senior, it was really exciting just being able to finish and be All-Conference again; that was my goal, because I wanted to finish strong and help the team as much as I could,” she said. “[I’m] just really thankful for the opportunity and just being able to remember my time at Point Loma and ending it on a good note.”
The women’s cross country team will have their next event at the NCAA West Regional in Monmouth, Oregon on Nov. 4.