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Women's Cross Country - Sat, Nov. 23, 2013

HANOVER, Ind. – Cornell's Abrah Masterson closed a fine freshman season by placing in the top half of the women's field at Saturday's NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships.

Masterson, of Granby, Colo., finished 113th out of 280 total runners at Hanover College's L.S. Ayres Complex. She covered the six-kilometer course in 22 minutes, 43 seconds, which was 11th among freshman competitors.

"Abrah had a strong performance at the national meet," Cornell head coach Dan Schofer said. "She missed her personal-best time by just seven seconds and mixed it up well with some very elite runners. Abrah definitely proved that she belonged in that company, and I know she left the meet with a great experience and an even greater desire for future success."

The all-America cutoff for the top 35 finishers was 21:59. St. Scholastica senior Chelsea Johnson was crowned individual champion in 21:11.

Masterson beat Grinnell's Sarah Burnell – the Midwest Conference's only other entrant – by 21 seconds. Masterson was runner-up to Burnell at the MWC Championships and one spot behind the Grinnell runner while placing 13th at the Central Region Championships.

Masterson became Cornell's first freshman female runner to compete at the national meet in cross country. She joined Rachelle Hawkins (2008) and Kelly Lear (1993) as the program's only national qualifiers on the women's side.

"We had a good group of Abrah's teammates there to cheer for her, which was really nice to see," Schofer said. "Our team has been extremely close, and they are motivated to continue to get better each season."

Masterson's impressive fall season included five top-10 finishes and one meet title. She earned all-conference and all-region accolades.