The women’s cross-country team, recently ranked No. 20 in the nation, competed at their home course on Friday, Oct. 18 to earn a perfect team score of 15. The team ran against Michigan Tech, Lake Superior State University and Gogebic Community.
The ’Cats placed first out of three teams; Michigan Tech placed second and LSSU placed third. Though Gogebic Community participated, they did not have a team to place.
Head coach Jenny Ryan said the team was happy to finish in first.
“They ran incredibly well,” Ryan said. “It was nice to come out on top.”
Sophomores Megan Edic and Mary Kate Cirelli ran together for the four kilometer race, placing first and second. Following behind was junior Christina Toogood, senior Jordyn Ross, and junior Larissa Halonen, creating the top five placers in the meet. Juniors Olivia Howard, Chelsea Farquhar and redshirt freshman Xavier Donajkowski finished sixth through eighth.
Donajkowski said she was eager to run with her teammates again after missing the past few meets due to a tendonitis injury.
“Coming off of an injury, I was really happy with my results. My goal was to be in the top eight and I did just that,” said Donajkowski. “The team expected to do well; it was nice to see that all of our hard work paid off.”
Sophomore Jaylee Brown, junior Emily Allen, junior Felicia Gesior, sophomore Hannah Boyer, freshman Shannon Flynn and Sophie Schimpl finished in the top twenty-five for the ’Cats.
Junior Caitlin Keskey, sophomore Abby Roche, senior Alicia Romano, senior Evelyne Ruiz and redshirt freshman Johanna Carlson also ran for NMU.
Ryan said she is very happy with how far the team has come this season, and proud of how well everyone ran. Ryan said she is very impressed with the team’s hard work at their practices and meets.
“It is great to see how close everyone becomes throughout the season,” Ryan said. “Being able to connect with teammates and friends, and sharing a love for something is an amazing thing. We have been able to create the strong running environment that we’ve been working so hard for.”
Next week, the team will continue to run daily and train for the meet that will be held this Saturday, Oct. 26 where the ’Cats will travel to Michigan Tech for the GLIAC Championship.
“I believe that next week’s meet will go really well,” said Donajkowski. “The team has run this course before and though it has some tough hills, Coach Ryan has trained us well along with other teammates. As long as we run together and communicate, we will do great.”
Last year, the GLIAC Championship was held in Linwood, Mich., where the team finished fourth out of 16 teams with a score of 139 points. Grand Valley State University won the conference with a total of 25 points.