In a dazzling performance, the USF Women’s Cross Country team won its fourth consecutive West Coast Conference championship Oct. 27 in Portland, Ore., making it the first USF women’s program in any sport to win four consecutive WCC championships.
It was a breakthrough moment for coach Helen Lehman-Winters and star runner Eva Krchova ’14. Krchova is the first runner in USF history to win an individual title. She ran the 6K in 20:31.56.2 and was named WCC Player of the Year.
Coach Lehman-Winters also won big: she was named WCC Coach of the Year for the seventh time. Her team is enjoying a long list of accolades:
- WCC Team Championship
- WCC Player of the Year: Eva Krchova ’14
- Freshman of the Year: Elena Burkard ’16
- Coach of the Year: Helen Lehman-Winters
- Five All-WCC selections: Alice Baker ’13, Laura Suur ’13, Chloe Treleven ’13, Eva Krchova ’14, and Elena Burkard ’16
- Three Academic All-Conference Team selections: Sarah Pearson ’14, Laura Suur ’13, and Eva Krchova ’14 (Ten players were chosen from nine teams.)
“It was rainy and muddy in Portland,” Lehman-Winters said. “But we were excited to be in the miserable rain.”
The team credits “Coach Helen” for its sustained success. “Since I’ve come here, I’ve improved every year, more and more,” said Krchova. “I will keep improving this year too.”
“It’s about believing. Believing in the coach and in each other, and believing we can reach our team goals,” said Sophie Curl ’14. “I attribute my success to Helen. She told me I could qualify for the NCAA National 1500-meter race in June, and I did.”
Team members do well in the classroom too. Stunningly well. Two even have 4.0 GPAs. “We expect to improve on our team GPA every year,” Lehman-Winters said. “We’re at 3.55 now.” She adds that her runners have the “whole package” because they’re smart, they’re superb athletes, and they also give back to the community through volunteer work. “This is the caliber of student-athletes we have. They focus on excelling in all areas.”
Now that the coach has guided the team to four straight championships, she’s setting her sights even higher. “We will win a NCAA national championship!” she insists. And her runners agree. They believe.