Williams Turns in All-American Performance at NCAA Championship
JOPLIN, MO -- Twishana Williams finished 33rd in a field of 249 runners, turning in an All-American performance at the NCAA Division II Women's Cross Country Championship on Saturday. Williams was the top MIAA runner at the meet, which was hosted in Joplin, Missouri by Missouri Southern State University.
Williams, competing as an individual, clocked in at 21:12.4 to earn All-American honors, which are given to the meet's top 40 finishers. She had the eighth-best time among individual runners and the top mark among any MIAA athlete at the meet. Missouri Southern's Rachel Schrader had the next-fastest time by an MIAA runner, ending the 6K race in 21:48.1 to take 66th overall.
Early in the race Williams was among the leaders of the pack, at one point being as high as fourth. Around the middle of the race Williams was still near the top 10, with the official timers ranking her 10th at the half way mark, but towards the end of the race other competitors began to pick up the pace. She was still among the fastest finishers in the race, beating out more than 200 other runners to the finish line.
Alicia Nelson of Adams State won the race, finishing with a time of 20:03.3. Grand Valley State won the team title, totaling 101 team points to edge out Augustana, which took second with 104 points. Adams State rounded out the top three with 109 points. Missouri Southern had the best finish among the two MIAA teams competing, taking 21st with 490 points, while Pittsburg State earned 544 points to take 24th out of the 32-team field.
This was the first time in 12 races as a Blue Tiger that Williams finished outside of the top 10, though her time of 21:12.4 was her best of the season. Williams qualified for nationals by finishing with a time of 21:27.8 at the NCAA Division II Central Cross Country Regional, which took place on Nov. 3 and was also hosted by Missouri Southern. Her time at that meet earned Williams All-Region honors by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.