First Chatham athlete to qualify for nationals

By Clair Fink

Rebecca Pennington ‘22 made Chatham University history when she qualified for the NCAA DIII Cross Country National Championship race in Winneconne, Wis., a first for the program.

Rebecca Pennington and her coach, Jon Morrow pose with Carson the cougar before leaving for nationals.

Pennington, along with cross country coach Jon Morrow, were off to the races on Nov. 14. She placed 118th out of 279 competitors with a time of 22 minutes and 41 seconds.

“The race itself was the most intense race I have raced in,” Pennington said. Being that it was her first time at such a large event, making some mistakes was inevitable, but she views them as learning tools for personal growth.

“Chatham has never been represented on the national stage in any sport, and it’s hard to put into perspective how challenging it is to make it,” Morrow said.

To make it to the national race, more than 2,200 women competed across the country at regional meets for Division III, Morrow explained. Pennington was among the top 56 of those runners.

Rebecca Pennington at nationals.

Along with her national appearance, Pennington was recognized this season as Number One Freshman Runner in the Mid-East Region and was named PAC runner of the week multiple times.

Pennington and Morrow thank Chatham University and the community for the outpouring of support they have received.