PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Junior Claudia Keep was honored by the Philadelphia Inquirer as the 2013 Academic All-Area Performer of the Year for cross country. The team is voted on by the sports information offices of the 28 area institutions from the Philadelphia metropolitan area.
After sitting out the 2012 season due to an injury, Keep responded in her junior year with a vengeance. She started the year off by winning the Haverford College Open (3-mile) with a 17:35.00 in her first race back to competitive racing. Out to prove it her win wasn't a fluke, Keep paced the field the following week at the Bryn Mawr College Invite's 5K run with a time of 20:08.00.
In her third race of the season, Keep traveled to the University of Delaware Invite where she finished 11th overall and was the highest finishing DIII runner in the field in a predominantly DI race. The second DIII finisher ended the race in 30th place.
After taking a weekend off, Keep returned to action at the annual Dickinson College Long/Short Invite. Running the Long course, a 6K run, Keep earned another podium finish as she once again led the field to the finish line. She ended the race nearly 20-seconds ahead of the second place finisher. After not running at the Paul Short Invite on Oct. 5, due to the cancellation of the varsity race due to heat concerns, Keep headed to Smith College the next weekend for the Seven Sisters Championships. At the Seven Sisters Championships, Keep became the second Bryn Mawr runner in as many years to win the annual running. This year she finished the 5K run in 18:23.3 with a 5:6 mile pace.
At the Centennial Conference championships, Keep led the Owls with a 7th place finish and a time of 23:15.40 while earning first-team All-Centennial Conference honors. She followed up her performance two weeks later with an 8th place finish (21:41) at the NCAA Mideast Regionals en route to All-Regional Honors and a spot in the NCAA National Meet.
Keep's 2013 season accumulated in another trip for Keep to the NCAA DIII Cross Country National Championships. Two years ago Keep became the first Bryn Mawr runner to compete at the national meet where she finished 56th. This year, Keep finished the 6K race in 47th place with a time of 22:09.9.
A two-time selection to the Centennial Conference Academic Honor Roll, she posted the school's fastest times in the three-mile run (17:35); the 5K (18:23) and the 6K (21:41) this season.
"Claudia has been a great athlete to work with the past three years. Her dedication to the sport and her unwavering commitment to improve her running has been a real inspiration to the team and a joy for the coaching staff. She had a really great season this year and I can't think of a more deserving runner," stated head coach Jason Hewitt.
Keep is joined on the Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area Women's Cross Country team by Chestnut Hill's Allison Eberly; Philadelphia University's Taylor Falvey and Alyssa Litty; Brianna Ligotski from the University of the Sciences; Kelly Riffenburgh from Haverford; Josey Rupert from Eastern and Emma Slattery from Saint Joseph's.