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Katarina Rothhorn
Katarina Rothhorn
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Women’s spring soccer comes to an end this weekend
Lily GouinApril 19, 2024

NMU finishes season strong at Regionals

With the finish line to another season in sight, the NMU cross country team ended their season in full stride by finishing 11th out of 23 teams last weekend.

Last Saturday, the lady Wildcats traveled to Ashland, Ohio for the NCAA Midwest Regional competition.

Head coach Jenny Ryan said she was happy with how the team performed in its last meet of the season.

“The team had a very respectable finish in the region,” Ryan said. “We finished 11th of 23 teams competing. We were the eighth GLIAC team and beat all but three teams from the GLVC conference.”

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Ryan said the Wildcats worked to improve on last season’s record and were happy with this year’s strong finish.

“This was a great finish for a young team,” Ryan said. “Last year, we finished 15th. We had 140 points less than last year. This year we were only 20 points out of ninth place.”

Junior Rita Wiotas said the team felt they had a strong finish to the season as well. She said the team had tough competition and NMU worked hard to compete in the regional race last weekend.

“As a whole, the team did well,” Woitas said. “We’ve come to the realization of how tough our conference and region is, but I think that our team performed with a high degree of effort.”

Freshman Larissa Halonen finished 21st overall with a time of 22:52, earning her All-Region honors.

“I was very excited about my race,” Halonen said. “I earned a personal best time.”

Halonen said she was hoping to run a good race and face excellent competition.

“My expectations for the weekend were definitely met, if not exceeded,” Halonen said. “I anticipated it to be a fast race, and indeed it was. The conditions of the course were perfect, the weather was beautiful, and I was up against some of the best runners in the country.”

The team is young, talented, and expects an even better season next year, Ryan said.

“Looking back, I think we had a great season overall,” Ryan said. “Even with some ups and downs during the season with illnesses and injuries, we still had a great season. The team learned a lot about racing and competing in bigger races with faster competitors.”

Ryan named Larissa Halonen MVP of the weekend and overall for the season. Ryan also named Mandy Dye, Katie Granquist, Rita Woitas, Nora Kiilunen, Chelsea Farquhar and Olivia Juntila as the Wildcats’ most valuable players for 2011.

Senior Nora Kiilunen said the team worked hard and pushed to reach its goals all season. They wanted to make the top 10 last weekend.

“Our team finished just shy of our goal of making the top 10 in a very strong Midwest regional,” Kiilunen said. “We moved up four places from last year.”

Kiilunen said the team has potential to continue improving in upcoming seasons.

“This season, we had a good size group that was able to train well together which carried over to the improvements we have made in races this year,” Kiilunen said. “The team is fairly young and will build on the success we’ve had this year with many of the girls returning next fall.”

Ryan said next season, NMU will have a strong team with many of this year’s team members coming back.

“I am very excited for next year’s cross country season,” Ryan said. “Eight of the top 10 athletes will be returning. I really believe this will be a team that can make it to the national championships. We are right on the edge of becoming one of the top teams in the GLIAC and region.”

The cross country team trains year round and also competes in indoor and outdoor track.

The team has two weeks off before track training begins. The track season goes through early May, then the lady Wildcats begin cross country training for next year.

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