TERRE HAUTE, IN - The Charlotte 49ers women's cross country team had its best-ever finish in NCAA Pre-Nationals history on Sunday afternoon, placing 15th of 37 teams in a field that featured some serious competition. Led by senior Amanda Goetschius, the Niners tallied 485 points, topping several regionally-ranked teams who have received votes earlier in the season.

"The ladies showed that they wanted to perform today and executed the plan very nicely," head coach Ed Schlichter said after the race. "I was really proud of the way they kept their composure in such a high profile race."

Charlotte finished just 26 points shy of La Salle, this year's Atlantic 10 favorite in the pre-season poll, and edged Dayton, the #3 predicted finisher by seven points. The Niners also topped several top regionally-ranked teams including Baylor (#6 in the South Central), Mississippi State (#7 South) Kansas State (#14 Midwest) and Indiana State (#13 Great Lakes).

Goetschius finished 39th overall in a time of 21:44 in the 6K event, pacing the Niners for the third time this season.

"Amanda did a great job leading us today," Schlichter said. "It was really windy and we had her run a conservative race, but she moved up well on the second half of the course and got the job done."

Junior Hana Sutchar had a strong race as well, coming in as the fifth overall Atlantic 10 competitor in the race and a solid #2 runner for Charlotte in a time of 22:11 (71st place). Rookie Kristen Stout had her best race yet, finishing 124th overall in 22:55, as the top A10 freshman in the race.

Jenna Christensen and Aurora Trujillo hung together throughout the race, crossing the line together at 143rd and 144th in 23:08.

"To be only 26 points from the pre-season A10 favorite La Salle and to beat Dayton was a big momentum builder for us today," Schlichter said. "Now we'll start sharpening as we eye our first A10 title in cross country to complement our success on the track and field side of the program."

This was the final tune-up for the Niners before getting set to host the Atlantic 10 Championship two weeks from now. The conference meet takes place Saturday, October 29th at Frank Liske Park in Concord, NC.