HANOVER, Ind. -- Bates senior Kallie Nixon didn't have her "best day," in the words of head coach Jay Hartshorn, on Saturday at the 2013 NCAA Division III Women's Cross Country Championships at Hanover College, placing 188th among 280 individuals.
Nixon (Medfield, Mass.) ran the 6-kilometer course in 23:17.5, 0.1 ahead of Carnegie Mellon's Reka Schnepf and 0.4 seconds behind Erin Sawyers of Wartburg. She is the first Bates female athlete since Kathryn Moore '07 to compete in an NCAA Championship in all three collegiate athletic seasons.
Nixon was Bates' lone representation in the race, after disappointingly missing out on a team selection to the meet. The Bobcats were eligible after placing sixth out of 53 teams at last Saturday's NCAA New England Regional Championships in Gorham, Maine, despite missing their top runner this season to injury in sophomore Hannah Zeltner (Bedford, N.H.).
"I think Kallie felt lots of pressure because the team didn't make it," Hartshorn said, adding that it shouldn't diminish Nixon's remarkable achievement. A year ago, Nixon was studying abroad while Bates competed at NCAAs as a team, placing 19th. "She didn't run cross country last year, so to make it to the NCAA meet was quite an accomplishment."
Four teams seated behind No. 28 Bates in this week's USTFCCCA rankings -- Luther, Ohio Wesleyan, Ithaca, Elizabethtown -- did receive at-large bids to the meet, while four teams the Bobcats outperformed at the Roy Griak Invitational this season -- Carleton, Wisconsin-La Crosse, St. Olaf, and Wisconsin-Stevens Point -- were also invited.