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Claremont, Calif. - Junior Annie Lydens (Tokyo, Japan) won the NCAA Division III West Region Cross Country individual championship for the second year in a row on Saturday morning on Pomona-Pitzer's home course.
Lydens now qualifies for next weekend's NCAA Division III National Championships, which will be held in Wisconsin. A year ago, she came in ninth at the nationals, as well as second in the National Outdoor Track and Field championships (5000 meters) in the spring.
Lydens finished first with a time of 21:26.1, which was seven seconds ahead of the second place finisher, Illana Livstrom of Lewis+Clark (pictured: Lydens approaching finish line with Livstrom well behind).
The finishing time was well faster than her winning time at last year's West Regionals (21:51) and one second faster than her time at the NCAA Division III National Championships last year. She was in the middle of the front-running pack for the first two-third of the race, before making her move and opening up a 40-meter lead coming down the homestretch.
It was the fourth straight race that Lydens has won, all of which she captured with a comfortable margin. She started her streak on Oct. 1 at the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational, which she won by seven seconds, and then she swept the SCIAC Multi-Duals (Oct. 15) and the SCIAC Championships (Oct. 29) with victory margins over 25 seconds.
"It felt good to run on my home course with so many of my friends and family there to watch," said Lydens, whose parents flew in from the Far East to watch her run for the first time. "It was nice to feel the love from all of the home fans, and it felt good to take it out strong from the beginning against a strong field of women's runners. I felt comfortable the whole way and just ran my race."
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps won the team championship at the NCAA West Regional with five of the top 11 finishers, while the Sagehens came in tenth place as a team.
Naomi Wagner (La Jolla, Calif.) was the second Pomona-Pitzer runner to cross the line, in a time of 23:20.7. Roxanne Cook (La Canada. Calif.) was the third Sagehen with a time of 23:24.7, followed by Claire Brickson (Madison, Wisc.) at 24:15.3 and Ilona Kats (Brookline, Mass.) at 24:16.6.
Complete results are at the following link: