Cross country finishes fifth at GLIACs, two ‘Cats earn honors


WILDCATS’ WIN HONORS—Madison Malon and Elise Longley earned All-GLIAC honors at the GLIAC Championships this past Saturday. NMU finished in fifth out of 11 teams. Photo courtesy of NMU Athletics

Travis Nelson, Sports Editor

The Northern Michigan University cross country team finished fifth out of 11 teams in the GLIAC Championships on Saturday.

The ‘Cats finished in the middle of the pack of the conference, but had two runners- Madison Malon and Elise Longley- earn All-GLIAC accolades. 

Malon made the first team by placing 10th overall and led the Wildcats with 23:02.5. Only a junior, it’s really only her second season with COVID-19 canceling last year.

“Madison (Malon) was exciting (to see win),” NMU coach Jenny Ryan said. “She’s worked hard and made some jumps and I think she has another year and possibly two, she just told me yesterday that she might stick around for at least the fall after that. We might have her for two more years which is awesome. She’s just worked consistently hard and through the pandemic, there was a time that we weren’t together for a long time and she put her miles in. Exciting to see what she did this year and exciting to see what she could do at regionals and then beyond.”

Longley, a fifth-year senior, achieved All-GLIAC honors for the first time in her career. She finished in 20th place at 23:33.2 to make the second team. Going through a lot of adversity including a stress fracture that made her miss most of the summer, Ryan was excited to see Longley be rewarded for that.

“She’s got a ton of talent, but throughout the years she’s been here, she’s had a lot of setbacks, injuries, sickness,” Ryan said. “So really fun to see her have a solid race at the conference championships and be all-GLIAC. She looked really strong.”

Coming in next for NMU was Emily Sterling in 34th place with a time of 24:17.5. Talon Prusi and Meghan Langworthy were neck-and-neck of each other in 42nd and 44th place respectively with times of 24:28.6 and 24:29.8. The ‘Cats had two more runners place in the top 50 with Chrysanthe Patselas and Anni Skillicorn. Patselas took 49th with a time of 24:38.8 and Skillicorn came in 50th with a mark of 24:38.9.

Rounding out the group for the ‘Cats was Ithaca Bergholtz with a 55th place finish at 24:51.4, Skylar Grubb finished 69th at 25:25.9, Anna Kelley finished in 85th at 26:10.4, Morgan Lyon placed 95th at 27:27.3 and Aubrey Friedrich took 98th with a time of 28:05.3.

Northern took home fifth place overall with 130 points, behind Grand Valley State (15 points), Saginaw Valley State (63 points), Wayne State (97 points) and Michigan Tech (109 points). A great performance could’ve seen the ‘Cats get second or third, but a decent day like Saturday would result in fourth or fifth, Ryan said.

It was definitely a respectable result,” Ryan said. “A third of the group had a great day, a third of the group had a good day and a third of the group not so good. I was happy with the effort they put out there, they went for it with what they knew, what they could do with the crazy conditions and some of them came out really well. But I know we have a stronger team than we showed, we haven’t at once all ran as strong as I think they can. So regionals, that’s the goal.”

The Wildcats now look towards the Regional Championships on Saturday, Nov. 6 in Evansville, Indiana. The entire region’s strong, Ryan said, and a good performance could give NMU a chance to qualify for nationals.

“I think a lot of teams from our region will end up going to nationals,” Ryan said. “So if we can be in there and beat some of them, we’ll be knocking at the door anyway.”