The NC State Wolfpack are the 2023 NCAA Division I women’s cross country champions, after edging out the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks by one point in a dramatic finish on Saturday, Nov. 18, at Karen Shelton Stadium in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The Wolfpack finished with 123 points, while the Lumberjacks had 124 points. The title is the third consecutive one for NC State, and the fourth in program history.
The race was a fast and furious one, as the top three finishers all broke the previous championship record of 19:08.6, set by Weini Kelati of New Mexico in 2019. The individual champion was Parker Valby of Florida, who ran a blistering time of 18:55.2, becoming the first woman to break 19 minutes in the 6k race. Valby, who was second last year, used a strong kick in the final stretch to pull away from the pack and claim the title.
The runner-up was Katelyn Tuohy of North Carolina State, who clocked 18:58.4, also breaking the 19-minute barrier. Tuohy, who was the 2022 champion, led for most of the race, but could not match Valby’s speed in the end. Tuohy was followed by her teammate Hannah Steelman, who finished third in 19:01.8, completing the record-breaking trio.
The team competition was even more exciting, as NC State and Northern Arizona battled for the title until the very end. The Wolfpack had three runners in the top 10, with Tuohy, Steelman, and Kelsey Chmiel (seventh), while the Lumberjacks had four runners in the top 20, with Taryn O’Neill (fourth), Jessa Hanson (11th), Mikayla Malaspina (16th), and Bryn Morley (18th). The difference came down to the fifth runners, as NC State’s Dominique Clairmonte (96th) finished one spot ahead of Northern Arizona’s Pipi Eitel (97th), giving the Wolfpack the one-point edge and the title.
The Wolfpack became the first team to win three straight titles since Stanford did it from 2005 to 2007. They also avenged their loss to Northern Arizona in the 2022 ACC Championships, where the Lumberjacks won by two points. The Lumberjacks, who were the Big Sky champions, finished second for the second year in a row, and matched their best result in program history.
The other teams in the top five were Colorado (third with 143 points), Stanford (fourth with 173 points), and Michigan (fifth with 181 points). The race featured 31 teams and 255 runners, who qualified through nine regional meets across the country.
The Sport Lady has been a lifelong sports enthusiast. She believes that sports have the power to unite people, create common bonds, and foster shared experiences. As a wife and mother of sports lovers, she is passionate about her favorite teams and cherishes every opportunity to watch them play. For her, every day is game day!