Cross Country wins three awards in NCAC Championship


Photo contributed by Megan Aaron

The women’s cross country team celebrates their North Coast Athletic Conference title on Oct. 30 in Springfield, Ohio.

Head coach Ben Mourer, ’07, and runners Megan Aaron, ’23, and Emma Wall, ’24, all won awards in the North Coast Athletic Conference Championship on Oct. 30, located in Springfield, Ohio. Mourer earned the NCAC Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year award, Aaron received the NCAC Women’s Runner of the Year honors, and Wall attained the NCAC Women’s Newcomer of the Year accolades.

Mourer previously merited this accomplishment in 2016 and 2017. Additionally, Aaron is the first Allegheny student-athlete to win her award since Emily Forner, ’19, picked up the accolades in 2018, while Wall is the first Allegheny student to achieve such a distinction.

Mourer obtained this honor after Allegheny’s women’s cross country team finished in first place out of eight teams participating in the NCAC Championships on Oct. 30 in Springfield, Ohio. Meanwhile, Aaron picked up the individual crown with a running time of 22:43.7, whereas Wall completed the race at 23:25.4.

Mourer credited the success of the athletes as to why he acquired the award.

“Sweeping all three awards was a big achievement for the team,” Mourer said. “It was something we were hoping to do, even planning to do going into the race.”

Mourer further explained what Aaron and Wall mean to the women’s cross country program.

“(Aaron is) only our seventh conference champion in school history and Allegheny has a really storied history in that sport of women’s cross (country),” Mourer said. “That puts her along with our all-time greats to have won that race. And then (Wall) being newcomer of the year, that’s the first newcomer of the year I’ve coached on the women’s side since I’ve been here.”

Aaron discussed what the conference title means to her.

“It was really exciting,” Aaron said. “I wasn’t exactly expecting it but I had a chance to win. It was an exciting experience and I’m happy about it.”

Megan reiterated that Mourer believed that she was going to end up in first place before the race began.

“Before the race, my coach and I talked about it and he said, ‘Oh, I think you have a shot at winning so just go out there and run like you’ve been running,’” Aaron said. “It worked out well.”

As for Wall, she mentioned how she was nearly able to win this award in track and field last season, so she was pleased to have earned the accolades for cross country.

“I was a contender for (NCAC Women’s Newcomer of the Year) in track in the spring, and I ended up not having my best race,” Wall said. “So, it felt really good to be able to get it in cross country, especially since we didn’t have a season last year.”

Wall had a second-place finish right behind Aaron and went into detail about her relationship with her teammate.

“I was super happy for Megan,” Wall said. “We are training partners and it was nice that we can go one-two in the race. It was nice to enjoy the victory as a team and not just with individual victories.”

Allegheny will be competing in the NCAA Great Lakes Regionals on Saturday, Nov. 13 at 11 a.m. in Shelbyville, Indiana. If the Gators place high enough, they could qualify for nationals the following week in Louisville, Kentucky. Mourer has confidence in his team that they will be competing in the Bluegrass State on Nov. 20.

“Right now, (Allegheny’s women’s cross country team) is ranked third (in Division III) and that seems relatively appropriate,” Mourer said. “They are not rolling out in first or second, knowing that finishing one or two spots worse in that might still get a bid. The women are focused on being one of the top teams in the region, going to nationals and doing well.”