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Pitcovich repeats as Elite 90 winner at NCAA III women's XC Championships

By Tim Glon

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Ohio Northern senior Tessa Pitcovich (Stow/Stow-Munroe Falls) had an outstanding but frigid Saturday at the NCAA Division III Women's Cross Country Championships at the Forest Akers Golf Course at Michigan State.

Pitcovich braved Polar Bear-like conditions with a snow-covered course, temperatures in the mid 20s, wind gusting more than 20 miles per hour and wind chills in the single digits.

She finished a solid 81st out of 293 runners on the 6,000-meter course in 23:14 despite the difficult conditions.

After the race, Pitcovich was honored as the NCAA III Women's Cross Country Championships Elite 90 Award winner. The prestigious award is given to the student/athlete with the highest GPA competing at each of the 90 NCAA Championships events each year.

She also won the Elite 90 Award in 2021, making her just the second student/athlete in ONU history to win the award twice.

"Tessa had a great effort today," ONU head coach Jason Maus said. "The weather conditions were tough and the course was difficult. She had a really good day under the circumstances. We are so proud of her and what she has accomplished at Ohio Northern both on and off the course."

"It was a good day, but it was hard to run," Pitcovich said. "Parts of the course were plowed but frozen. There were other parts of the course where the snow had drifted over and we were running in that. Plus the wind was really cold. But overall I am happy with my race."

It marked the third trip to the NCAA Championships for Pitcovich. She finished 77th as a sophomore in 2019, and after the 2020 season was canceled due to COVID-19, was 139th as a junior in 2021.