St. Thomas women’s distance runners have established a national reputation for excellence under Coach Joe Sweeney. He coached his 39th season in fall 2017.
Tommie women’s cross-country teams have won four NCAA Division III team championships and one AIAW national crown, with four national runner-up finishes. Only three other Division III women's CC programs have more national titles.
The Tommies also had three top-10 finishes during the 1990s -- second nationally in 1996; seventh in 1995; and 10th in 1998.
Individually, St. Thomas women's CC and track runners have won 15 individual national championships in track/CC, in events from 1,500 to 10,000 meters. Kelly Copps, a six-time Division III national champion on the track, was the 1994 national runner-up in cross-country in a field of 190 runners.
St. Thomas CC has had 39 All-Americas since joining Division III in 1982.
During an eight-year stretch from 1981-88, Sweeney guided the women’s team to five national championships and three runner-up finishes. The Tommies have advanced to nationals as a team in 22 of 36 years since joining Division III in 1982, with 13 top-seven team finishes.
St. Thomas has won 17 of the 38 MIAC team crowns in cross country since the event was first sponsored for women in 1981. The Tommies had the top two individual finishers at the conference meet in both 1995 and 1996; the first three finishers in 1997; the individual champion in both 1999, 2000 and 2012; and the runner-up in 2001 and 2007.
In all, Sweeney has guided Tommie cross country, indoor track and outdoor track teams to 82 conference team titles out of a possible 106 – the most among active Division III coaches in women's sports. The Tommie women had a rare sweep of conference team titles in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track from 2006-09 and again in 2016-17.
St. Thomas annually boasts a team cumulative grade-point average in the 3.40-3.60 range. Katie Theisen was named a CoSIDA Academic All-America and was a CC All-America in 2007 and also was named a Goldwater scholar. In 2005, Brigid Power won an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship; was voted a CoSIDA Academic All-America; and was an NCAA runner-up in the 1,500 meters on the track.
St. Thomas faces a challenging schedule of competitions throughout the Midwest, running against top Division II and III teams. The Tommies also take a trip out of the area and have competed in Boston, Colorado, South Bend, Ind., and Pennsylvania in recent seasons.
The team has approximately 25 members. Junior-varsity runners compete alongside varsity runners in most meets.