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Academics Athletics

CSB’s Fiona Smith places second at Division III national cross country meet

It wasn’t the most ideal day for running, with frigid temperatures and snow covering the trail at the Forest Akers East Golf Course in East Lansing, Michigan on Saturday (Nov. 19) morning.

But that didn’t slow College of Saint Benedict junior Fiona Smith down in the slightest.

Smith recorded a time of  21 minutes, 49.6 seconds to finish second overall in the women’s race at the NCAA Division III cross country meet — the top finish in program history.

“It was a really fun day,” she said afterward. “It was a crazy atmosphere. We had lots of Johnnies and Bennies coming out to cheer for us from (both the CSB and SJU) cross country teams. So that was super fun.

“I couldn’t be happier with my finish.”

It capped a historic season for Smith, who has earned seven All-American honors between cross country (two) and track and field (five). She became the first runner in school history to win back-to-back MIAC titles, as well as the first to repeat as an individual champion at regionals. She finished first or second in every race she ran this fall, winning five titles.

That marked the 25th All-American performance in program history, but the first since Chris Erichsen ’08 finished third overall in 2007. 

Junior quarterback Aaron Syverson finished 19-of-23 passing for 204 yards and four touchdowns to help build a 35-0 halftime lead.

The Johnnies – who have now won 10 games or more in a season 25 times – will play host to Wartburg (Iowa) (11-0) in the second round at noon Saturday at Clemens Stadium.

Fiona Smith finishes second at nationals

Fiona Smith finishes second on Saturday, Nov. 19, in the NCAA Division III cross country meet. Her performance was the best in College of Saint Benedict history. (Photo courtesy of Emily Zadny)