(Editor's note: Montana State University media release)
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Montana State freshman Camila Noe made program history on Saturday, Nov. 23, as she placed 30th overall in the NCAA Division I Women's Cross Country Championships at Indiana State's LaVern Gibson Championship Course. Noe became the first women's runner at Montana State to earn All-America honors by placing in the top 40 of the individual standings.
"It feels truly incredible," Noe said of her finish. "I feel so grateful and am just really happy that it all worked out and that I was able to do that."
"Just knowing that now, there's just a lot of pride to be able to do that at Montana State is a really good feeling," Noe said of becoming MSU's first women's cross country All-American. "Hopefully I'm just the first to do this and not be the last."
"I'm just so proud and excited for her because she's worked so hard," MSU director of cross country Lyle Weese said. "She's put so much into it and it's great to see it all pay off for her with an All-American award as a freshman."
Noe finished with a time of 20 minutes, 40 seconds. Her mark was 8 seconds ahead of the 40th-place finisher to clear the way to All-America honors.
The race day conditions featured near freezing temperatures and light rain throughout the 6-kilometer race. Noe was part of the lead pack, just 2.6 seconds behind the leader at the 2K split.
"I thought she showed great composure in the race," Weese said. "I think somewhere after the 2K split there were some people that fell in front of her because the course was a little slippery. Even though she may have lost some places because of traffic in front of her, she worked her way back up and started passing people on the back half of the race."
The race broke open at the midway point. By the 4K mark, Noe was sitting 36th among a group of six runners.
"I just really focused in on being calm and keeping my composure even when girls fell in front of me," Noe said. "The course wasn't ideal, but I was just able to focus in on my goal and keep moving up."
Noe's 30th-place showing was the second highest ever by a Bobcat women's runner. Annette Hand placed 29th at the NCAA meet in 1985, but All-America honors were honored to only the top 25 placing Americans during that era. She was the first Big Sky Conference women's runner to place in the top 30 individually in the previous 11 years. Noe was the fourth highest placing freshman in the field.
"It's so exciting to think about what she could accomplish in her career as it progresses at Montana State," Weese said. "To get out in her first NCAA meet and perform well this meet with some things that didn't go exactly right during the race, it just shows what she can do.
"The first NCAA meet is always the most difficult and hardest, and after that there's a higher level of comfort. If she keeps getting better, there's no limit to what she can do."
Shannon Butler is the highest finisher ever in the Montana State cross country program's history. He finished seventh in 1989 and second in 1990 in the NCAA Men's Cross Country Championship. Weese was an All-American as a senior in 2002 when he finished 11th at the NCAA meet.
"This gives me a lot of hope for the future," Noe said. "It's a very unique experience to run with the best people and best teams in the country. To be able to do this my freshman year really I think gives me a lot of experience for the next years.
"I have a lot of time left, So I'm super excited for what's in store and I'm ready to get back out there next year."