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Athletics Student Features

CSB’s Fiona Smith wins NCAA Division III women’s cross country national title

Fiona Smith has made history … again.

The College of Saint Benedict senior captured the school’s first cross country national championship Saturday morning, winning the six-kilometer women’s race in a time of 19 minutes, 54.1 seconds at the 2023 NCAA Division III national meet held at Big Spring High School in Newville, Pennsylvania.

Her time was over a full minute faster than the second-place finisher.

Smith – who finished second at the national meet a year ago – has now run three six-kilometer races in a time of under 20 minutes this season, and became the first women’s runner in Division III history to do so at the national meet.

Last March, the math major with a minor in computer science and Hispanic studies, became the first athlete in any sport in school history to win national championships when she finished first in both the 5,000 and 3,000-meter runs at the Division III indoor track and field meet. She followed that by finishing second in both the 5,000- and 10,000-meter events at the Division III outdoor track and field meet in May.

All told, Smith – who maintains a 4.0 GPA – is now a three-time national champion and a 12-time All-American across cross country and track and field.

Find more coverage of Smith’s big win on gobennies.com.

Fiona Smith and Robin Balder-Lanoue

College of Saint Benedict senior Fiona Smith and Bennies coach Robin Balder-Lanoue hold the national championship trophy after Smith won the women’s race at the NCAA Division III national cross country meet Saturday morning (Nov. 18). (Photo by Kelly Anderson Diercks)

Fiona Smith, National Champion

Fiona Smith won the NCAA Division III cross country championship on Saturday with a time of 19 minutes, 54.1 seconds.

Fiona Smith running

Fiona Smith turns a corner during her race on Saturday in Newville, Pennsylvania. She finished nearly a full minute ahead of the second place finisher. (Photos by Kelly Anderson Diercks)

Fiona Smith running

Smith became the first female runner in Division III history to post a time of under 20 minutes in the six-kilometer race at the national championship.