MEDFORD – Senior tri-captain Natalie Bettez (Bolton, Mass.) of the Tufts University women's cross country team placed second overall at the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championship hosted by Tufts at Franklin Park in Boston last Saturday. Her finish earned her 2018 first team NESCAC All-Conference honors for the third time in her career (including 2016 and 2017).
Bettez is the first NESCAC women's cross country runner to earn first team All-Conference three years in a row since both Caroline Cretti from Williams and Shauneen Garrahan of Amherst accomplished the feat from 2003-05. Bettez is the first three-time recipient for her career since former Jumbo Audrey Gould in 2012, 2014 and 2015.
Bettez clocked a time of 22:08.4 in the six-kilometer conference championship event on Saturday. The senior finished approximately 22 seconds ahead of Middlebury's Rory Kelly who finished third overall with a 22:30.1 mark. Bettez's finish helped the Jumbos placed fourth overall on Saturday with a score of 124.
As a sophomore, Bettez placed as the runner-up at the NESCAC Championship posting a time of 22:52.53. In her junior year, she finished sixth overall, but improved her time by 40 seconds recording a 22:11.5 time.
Bettez has had a great senior year as she won three races and was the top Jumbo finisher in all five events that she competed in. The senior won NESCAC Performer of the Week honors twice this fall and was also twice named the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCAAA) National Athlete of the Week this season. The races the senior won were the Pineland XC Shootout (18:08.4), the Purple Valley Classic (22:06.9), and the All-New England Championship (17:57.85) which featured all three divisions. Bettez was the first Jumbo to win the All-New England Championship since Kathy Whitcomb did in 1975.
Tufts will next compete on Saturday, November 10 at 12 pm at the NCAA Regional Championship hosted by Bowdoin. A berth into the NCAA Championship will be on the line.
Written By Athletic Communications Intern Bryan Costello