Cross Country Men Take First, Women Third in Season Opener
Sept. 2, 2017
ROMEOVILLE, Ill. – The Marquette University men’s and women’s cross country teams got the 2017 season off to a solid start on Saturday as the men’s team won the meet and the women placed third at the Flames/Flyers Challenge hosted at Lewis University.
“It was a good place to start for our teams,” head coach Mike Nelson said. “I wanted us to walk away healthy after getting a good race effort in and the results were positive. I take a lot of good away from today.”
For the first place men, each of MU’s top-seven finishers placed in the top-10 led by senior Alec Miller, who took home second place with a time of 18:41.96. Right behind Miller was sophomore Daniel Pederson (18:50.39), who finished in third, while medal honors went to James Frederickson of Lewis, who finished just 3 seconds ahead of Miller.
Junior Jon Klaiber (19:02.06) finished fourth on the team and fifth overall, followed by junior Brad Eagan (sixth; 19:09.15), redshirt sophomore Ryan Burd (seventh; 19:10.03), and redshirt junior Aric Miller (10th; 19:11.55).
In all, 19 competed on Saturday for the men’s team, which looks to be healthy and strong to start the campaign.
“Overall, I thought that the guys ran well,” Nelson said. “Tactically, we have things we can work on so there’s room for improvement, but was a good first step.”
For the women, which placed third overall behind Northwestern and Northern Illinois, was led by redshirt junior Jessica Parker’s third place finish with a time of 14:15.79. She paced three Golden Eagles in the top-10 with newcomer Courtney Dugan (14:46.82) taking sixth overall, followed by sophomore Mary Hanson (14:47.47) in seventh.
Senior Jennifer Parker (14:57.64) and graduate transfer Lauren Fuqua (14:59.68) placed 17th and 18th overall, respectively, while freshman Linda Varela (15:12.34) and junior Nora Keller (15:16.48) closed out the top-seven for MU, coming in 23rd and 24th overall.
“It was a very competitive race,” Nelson said of the women. “Northwestern, which ranks sixth in our region and NIU eighth. Both are very good teams and we were mixing it up with them, but came up just short today.
“Jessica was up there as our front-runner and Courtney Dugan had a phenomenal first race, especially for a person who has never seen or competed in a cross country race before.”
Previously a member of the Marquette women’s soccer team, Dugan decided to give cross country a try and appears to be right in the mix with the team’s top runners.
“I really do believe it was a solid start for the vast majority of women on the team. We have 22 women on the team and 21 competed today – a very good sign and we can continue to develop from here.”
Marquette will be back in action on Saturday, Sept. 9, when they make the short trip to Kenosha to take part in the Vic Godfrey Open hosed by UW-Parkside. The race will take place at the Dannehl National XC Course, which is also the site of the 2017 BIG EAST Championships, hosted by Marquette.
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