The Greenville College Lady Panthers saw a continuation in their dominance atop the St Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in 2009. The talent and experience of the team showed as they captured their sixth consecutive team title and their 14th in the last 15 years.
The catalyst for the ladies' success was the one-two punch of seniors Michelle Sutton (Springport, MI / Jackson) and Shanna Ambuehl (Kinmundy, IL / Kinmundy). These two were the Lady Panthers' top finishers throughout the season and provided three new entries in the Greenville College All-time Top 10 lists.
Sutton picked up the second individual conference championship of her career, earning the honor of Runner of the Year, when she outdistanced Ambuehl by 15 seconds at the conference championship meet. She then followed that performance with a run of 22:57 (6,000m - 4th fastest time in school history) to finish 43rd at the NCAA DIII Midwest Regional Championships in Oshkosh, WI. In the first cross country season of her life Ambuehl, the SLIAC Newcomer of the Year, posted the seventh fasted 6K time in school history at the DIII Regional meet (23:17).
Rounding out the top five for most of the season were three more seniors Jennifer Sutton (Springport, MI / Jackson), Talen Gerber (Fairbury, IL / Prairie Central), and Sara Schlink (Washington, IL / Washington). Although injury cut short the season of Gerber, Sutton and Schlink added much needed depth to the post-season scores by earning First Team All-conference honors (4th and 5th overall, respectively) and posting sub-24:40 regional performances to help push Greenville to a 17th place finish out of the 45 teams represented.
Although the Lady Panthers were heavily senior-laden, top returning underclassman Lili Castillo (freshman - Elgin, IL/Central), a Second Team All-conference performer with her 8th place finish at the conference championships, will potentially be joined by Michelle Sutton, Ambuehl, and Gerber, who all have one year of collegiate eligibility remaining. This foursome will look to drive the program to new heights in 2010.