Kilmartin and Thunderbirds top nationals

Sandra Kilmartin, a cross-country runner on the UBC Thunderbirds team helped to claim the championship title

Winning smile: Sandra Kilmartin is all smiles as she poses with the 2014 Women’s Cross Country Championship plaque in Lawrence

Winning smile: Sandra Kilmartin is all smiles as she poses with the 2014 Women’s Cross Country Championship plaque in Lawrence

Sandra Kilmartin, a cross-country runner on the UBC Thunderbirds team helped to claim the championship title at the 35th National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)  Women’s Cross Country Championship in Lawrence, Kansas on Nov. 22.

Four Thunderbirds runners placed in the top 10 to record a 98-point victory and give retiring head coach Marek Jedrzejek his fourth career national title in his final meet.

Senior runner Maria Bernard led the way for UBC, coming in first and becoming the first Thunderbirds woman to claim the individual title at an NAIA national championship.

Kilmartin, in her first year with UBC and making her NAIA national championship debut, was not far behind the top 30 finishers, who earned All-American status.

Kilmartin placed a respectable 39th with a time of 18:44 in the five kilometre race.

The Thunderbirds, the No. 1-ranked squad in the final NAIA Women’s Cross Country Top 25 Poll, compiled a team score of 43, which was 98 points ahead of second-place and No. 4, Lewis-Clark State’s (Idaho) 141.

UBC has now won three-consecutive banners, joining fellow Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) member Cal State San Marcos as the last team to accomplish such a feat.

The A.I.I. now owns the last six team national titles.

The T-Birds are also tied for the third-most NAIA women’s cross country banners.