Runners sprint towards season’s start

NMU+opens+up+the+season+at+the+Northwood+Invitational+on+Saturday%2C+Sept.+7.

NMU opens up the season at the Northwood Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 7.

Travis Nelson

Coming off of last year’s fifth-place finish in the GLIAC Championships, Head Women’s Cross Country Coach Jenny Ryan has high hopes for this year’s bunch. The practice began for the Wildcats two weeks ago, and Ryan has been pleased with what she has seen.

“It’s looking good, really good, we have nine new freshman,” Ryan said. “So there’s a lot of new student athletes on the team, [it’s] very exciting cause they’re really strong and the returners all came back fit and ready to go, so it looks like it’s going to be a great year.”

In their only tune-up before the season starts, the team traveled up to Houghton for a scrimmage against Michigan Tech University (MTU) on August 20, and Ryan thought her team rose up to the challenge.

“We went up there this past Tuesday and ran against them on their 5k course, so that went well cause we were able to see where everybody was at,” Ryan said. “It was good to see some freshman right in there towards the top, and the upperclassmen ran well.”

The ’Cats will get back one of their veteran runners in Katelyn Smith, the senior out of Gaylord, Mich. has finally gotten back to full health for the beginning of this year’s campaign. Northern will also return impact runners in seniors Hanna Torvi (St. Paul, Minn.) and Paige Du Bois (Green Bay, Wis.), junior Ellise Longley (Bloomington, Minn.), and sophomore Anna Kelley (Minneapolis, Minn.). NMU also has a nice freshman recruiting class coming in that has already found themselves among the best on the team. They include Paige Saiz (Milford, Mich.), Megan Langworthy (Big Rapids, Mich.), Madison Malon (Grandville, Mich.), and Emily Sterling (Boyne City, Mich.).

NMU’s first meet of the season will be contested in less than two weeks, as they travel to Midland to compete in the Northwood Invitational on Sept. 7 at 1:15 p.m. The beginning of the year can always be tricky, but nonetheless, Ryan is expecting the Wildcats to have a good showing in this meet against GLIAC foes.

“I have high expectations going in after seeing what these athletes did at the first meet,” Ryan said. “The nice thing is that it’s a smaller meet to start off with before we get into the bigger ones like the Spartan Invite and Roy Griak Invite, so this will be Ashland University (AU), Northwood University (NU), Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU), us, and a couple of community colleges. So we’ll get a chance to see those teams and see where we’re at against them and prepare for the big meets coming up.”

With the beginning of the season on the horizon, Ryan knows there are things other than results, that she is going to be looking for.

“Just to start off the season strong and also continue to see where we’re at and things we need to work on,” Ryan said. “Just [to keep] working together strong as a group but I expect us to run well, and at the same time it’s also a learning experience.”