Running to NCAA Championships

The men’s and women’s cross country teams hope to qualify for the NCAA DIII Championships this weekend.

By Miranda Burt

The University of Chicago men’s and women’s cross country teams begin their quest for NCAA recognition tomorrow at Augustana College in Rock Island, IL. The women will compete in a 6K starting at noon, and the men will run in an 8K starting at 11 a.m. The meet is the NCAA DIII Cross Country Midwest Regional, and the advancing runners and teams will run in the NCAA DIII Championships on November 18 in Elsah, IL. 

The Maroons on the women’s side are coming off a very successful UAA Championship Meet, where they took home second place out of eight teams. Fourth-year Khia Kurtenbach took home first place, coming in at 23:04, a full 10 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. Fellow fourth-year Cassidy McPherson came in 14th (24:19), and the top 20 was rounded out by first-year Abigail Shoemaker (18th, 24:40) and second-year Maggie Boudreau (19th, 24:42). Second-year Claire Brockway (23rd, 24:53), fourth-year Kelsey Dunn (34th, 25:25), and first-year Emma Dyer (39th, 25:30) rounded out the scoring efforts for the Maroons. 

“The season so far has been going really well for the women’s team,” second-year Shelby Smith said. “We have so much depth within our team as both returning runners and first-years are performing extremely well.”

The men placed fifth overall and were led by a pair of promising first-years. Jordan Olson finished 7th overall with a time of 26:26, and Ryan Cutter finished 13th, crossing the line at 26:34. Second-year Ralph Patejunas (24th, 26:57), fourth-year Peter Kreuch (38th, 27:24), second-year Andrew Kates (42nd, 27:31), third-year Jacob Gosselin (47th, 27:39), and first-year Charles Gardner (50th, 27:46) all additionally placed for the Maroons. 

Having placed 10th last year and 25th in the previous year, Kurtenbach will try to improve upon her previous All-American finishes. In addition to her UAA championship, she is a four-time UAA Athlete of the Week this year. 

Smith is looking forward to this weekend’s regional meet. “We’re definitely ready for Regionals this weekend as we have prepared well during preseason and the regular season, which certainly gives us all the confidence to have really good races.”

Kurtenbach and the rest of the Maroon women and men will take to the course this Saturday in Rock Island, as they try to advance to the NCAA championships the following weekend.