Women’s XC claims second against stiff competition

The runners tied for second with Wisconsin-Oshkosh, defeating seven other teams ranked in the top 25 nationally.

By Liane Rousseau

This weekend the women’s cross country team tied for second place at the University of Wisconsin­­–Oshkosh Brooks Invitational. Competing in a deep field, the team raced with 36 teams, 10 of which were ranked in the top 25 nationally. The team tied with seventh­-ranked Wisconsin–Oshkosh, only 27 points behind first-place finisher Minnesota–Duluth.

Four Maroons placed in the top 30 out of 499 runners participating in the six-kilometer event. Competing against not just D-III but also D-I runners, fourth-year Liz Lawton came in as runner-up with a time of 21:15, finishing just 14 seconds short of Minnesota–Duluth’s Morgan Place. Third-year Rachel Ohman came in next for Chicago with a time of 22:22, good enough for a 17th-place finish. She was followed closely by second-year Julia Sizek and fourth-year Lizzy Bright, who finished 23rd and 29th with times of 22:32 and 22:41 respectively. First-year Michaela Whitelaw rounded out the scoring, placing 45th with a time of 22:55.

Their performances are all the more impressive considering the breadth of competition. The Maroons went into the competition ranked 15th nationally and defeated fourth-ranked Wash U, 13th-ranked Hope College, and 10th-ranked Calvin College. Calvin came in closest with just one point less than the Maroons.

“Had they broken the tie, we would have defeated Oshkosh as well based upon all the tiebreaking scenarios,” explained head coach Chris Hall. “Our goal going into the meet was to challenge those teams.”

“It was a hard race because of the heat and the condition of the course,” Lawton explained, “but we ran well and finished great.”

The strong finish could not have come at a better time.

“Saturday was a huge accomplishment because Coach had asked us to really step it up,” Ohman said. “It was the last meet before UAA championships and that’s what we did. All of us across the board committed to believing that we are not a good team but a great team. We ran for each other.”

“It was great to see our athletes not just run with them but to defeat some of the best in the country,” continued Hall.

The 17th-ranked Maroons return to action on Saturday, October 30. They’ll travel to NYU to compete in the UAA Championship. The Maroons hope to hold onto their reputation as a serious force within the UAA.