Story written and posted by Anthony Perry, Rivier University Sports Information Director
STANDISH, MAINE – For the first time in nearly 20 years, the Rivier University Women's Cross Country team had someone place on the Great Northeast Athletic Conference All-Conference Team. That someone is junior Samantha Molinari (Litchfield, N.H.) who finished fifth overall at the 2019 GNAC Cross Country Championships this past weekend.
She becomes the first Women's Cross Country runner to be named to the GNAC All-Conference team since both Suzanne Gale and Jennifer Estey were honored in the fall of 2000.
Molinari has been a standout runner for the Raiders since the beginning of the season. In her first race as a member of the Rivier program, Molinari took home first place honors in the 6K Pop Crowell Invitational. In doing so she became the first Rivier XC runner to ever win the Pop Crowell event. Molinari followed that performance with another first place finish at the 5K Travis J. Fuller Invitational. She was named the GNAC Women's Cross Country Runner of the Week following her dominating performance at the Travis J. Fuller Invitational in which she finished with a time of 19:31.
The month of October brought on a different challenge for Molinari as she competed in the 5K Keene State Invitational and the 5K Suffolk Invitational. A crowded field of more than 180 runners across 18 colleges/universities, Molinari crossed the line at 19:21 (personal best) for a 29th place finish. At the Suffolk Invite, she finished 7th overall with a time of 20:01 with more than six conference schools involved at the meet.
This past weekend Molinari was a Top-5 finisher at the Conference Championships with a time of 24:26 in the 6K event to qualify for a First Team selection. As a result of finishing in the top 10 of the conference championship, Molinari will represent Rivier and compete at the NCAA New England Regional Championships on Saturday, November 16th at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.