Shalane Flanagan, a junior from North Carolina, won the race with a time of
19:36. Kate O’Neill (Yale) took second with a time of 19:45.9 and Alicia
Craig and Lauren Fleshman, both from Stanford, took third and fourth places
with times of 19:48.0 and 19:48.3, respectively. With her placing of 32nd overall,
Culley was the sixth athlete from the BIG EAST Conference to finish the race.
Brigham Young took the top team honors, with Stanford and Notre Dame following. Georgetown and Colorado rounded out the top five teams.
“This is a personal best for Julie,” said head coach Roberta Anthes. “She improved from Pre-Nationals and had a great race. Her first 3K was run at a faster pace than she has ever started out before, with a time of 10:02, which made the end of the race a little harder for her, but she held her own and kept her spot.”
At Pre-Nationals, which were held on the same course as Nationals in Terre Haute, IN, she placed first in the open race. She finished the BIG EAST Championships, which were held Nov. 1 at Franklin Park in Boston, MA, in fourth place.
She qualified for the NCAA’s after placing third at the District II Championships Nov. 25 with a time of 20:55.7, the highest a Rutgers runner has finished since Desiree Scott placed first in 1984.
Culley has been the top scorer for Rutgers in every meet this year and she has also finished in the top five overall in every race. At the Penn State Invitational on Sept. 7, she placed second, at the Princeton Invitational Sept. 14 she placed first and at the Paul Short Invitational on Sept. 28 she placed second. At the Metropolitan Championships she took first and set a course-record with a time of 17:21.69.
Highlighting her season were some record-setting times. At the Princeton Invitational, Culley finished first in the 3.1 mile race with a time of 17:26.6, the third fastest time ever posted on the course. At the Metropolitan Championships at Van Cortlandt Park in New York City, she recorded the fastest time in the history of the event with a finish of 17:21.69.
Culley is the 5000 meter school record holder for outdoor track, an Academic All–American and was an NCAA qualifier for cross country in 2000 as well. At the 2000 NCAA’s she placed 85th with a time of 21:52. She did not compete in cross country last year due to a back injury.