GROVE CITY, PA – Led by a first-place finish from senior Monica Patrick, the Allegheny women’s cross country team breezed to victory at the season-opening Grove City College Kickoff Invitational.

Patrick was one of five Gators to place in the top nine of the 51-runner race, as the Gators, ranked 29th in the first 2016 USTFCCCA national rankings,  amassed a team score of just 23, 21 points ahead of second-place Grove City, while Waynesburg closed out the team standings with 60 points.

“It was a good performance to open up the season,” said head coach Ben Mourer ’07.  “The women really executed their race plan well.  Plus, it certainly didn’t hurt that the weather was perfect, and it was a fast course.”

Patrick, a 2015 All-Region performer, opened her senior campaign by traversing the three-mile course in 18:26.60, good for a seven-second victory.  Classmate and fellow All-Region honoree S.J. Guillaume placed third in 18:35.32, while sophomore Emily Forner took fourth in 18:50.38.

Sophomore Sarah Hevener took sixth, timed in 19:13.16, while junior Olivia Mamula closed out the Gators’ top-five with a ninth-place time of 19:32.62.  Rookie Joy Brown opened her freshman season by placing 13th with a time of 19:54.71, senior Darby Anderson placed 16th in 19:58.36, and junior Ariel Rittenhouse gave the Gators eight runners in the top 20 with an 18th-place time of 20:14.62.

“Coming off of preseason, it was good to see us do so well to open up the year,” said Mourer.  “It gives us confidence early on, and it lets us see where we stand as we get ready for a long season.”

The Gators will have a two-week respite before returning to action on Sept. 17 at the Saint Vincent Bearcat Invitational in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.