XC Sweeps Team, Individual Wins at Midwest Classic
Sept. 10, 2016
KENOSHA, Wis. - The Marquette University men's and women's cross country teams swept both the team and individual titles at the Midwest Classic hosted by UW-Parkside on Saturday, making for a strong start to the 2016 season.
"We accomplished our goals today," Marquette head coach Mike Nelson said. "We had a solid opener. It was something we could build on and, most importantly, we walked away healthy. We did happen to win both races, individually, and as a team, but we were focused on each individual running the races they wanted and we look forward to getting back after it in six days."
Redshirt senior Kellie Greenwood competed in her first race since 2014 after missing last season due to injury and was impressive. The Two Rivers, Wisconsin, native set the tone with a time of 17:46.3 and paced the Golden Eagles, who claim the top-three marks, individually, with Brittney Feivor (17:51.6) and Jennifer Parker (18:08.2) not far behind.
"Kellie and Brittney were basically working together up front...Even Jennifer, too, for a while," Nelson said. "Kellie was just happy to be out there again after missing a year from injury. She pulled away in the last 200-300 meters. To win, it doesn't get much better than that when you've been out a long time. It was great.
"Being the first meet of the season," Nelson added. "You're always a little bit unsure as a coach. And even after the first race, it gives you some indication, but I think we still can go quite a bit faster. It was a good rust-buster effort."
As a team, the Golden Eagles won the meet going away, with the top-five scoring places accumulating a score of 29. The next closest team was host UW-Parkside, which totaled 77 points.
The strong team score was due in part to a great supporting cast to compliment the top-three. Junior Abigail Busse (18:58.2) and senior Meghan Carroll (19:05.9) finished fourth and fifth for MU and 11th and 12th overall, respectively. Carroll also missed last season due to injury and returned strong with a solid start.
Sophomore Mary Hanson (19:21.0) had a strong race in her Marquette debut, finishing 22nd overall, while fellow newcomer, freshman Caitlin McGauley (19:42.9), took 32nd overall in her Golden Eagle debut.
"I would say that I'm happy overall with everyone's effort," Nelson said. "I really do think that our pack of ladies ran really strong. Again, it was a very solid opener for the entire team. I'm happy with the way that they executed."
For the men, junior Alec Miller, who paced Marquette in all six races a year ago, did so again in the season opener on Saturday. The West Bend, Wisconsin, native won by 2 seconds over his closest competitor from UW-Milwaukee with a time of 25:42.1.
"This was a solid field of guys," Nelson said. "There were some darn good runners in the race. With about 300 meters to go, there was still a pack of about 5-6 guys still together. Knowing Alec, if you're around him at the end of a race, you're in trouble because he has fantastic speed coming in. He had a great run and did a nice job leading us from the front pack."
It was a strong showing all-around for the Golden Eagle men, who also came away with the team victory after placing all of their top-five scorers in the top-12 overall. MU totaled 41 points to win the meet, nine points ahead of runner-up and host UW-Parkside.
Spooner, Wisconsin, native and freshman Daniel Pederson was MU's second-best runner in his collegiate debut, racing to an eighth-place overall finish in a time of 25:58.4.
"I had a hunch that the longer the distance, the better Daniel would do," Nelson said. "He's a pure distance runner, but to step up in your first 8K and break 26 minutes is pretty good. It will be fun to watch him and the rest of our newcomers over the course of the season."
Aric Miller, who was forced to miss all of last season due to injury, made a successful return with a ninth-place finish overall in a time of 26:00.4. Sophomore Jon Klaiber (26:07.0) was close behind, taking 11th overall, followed by redshirt freshman Ryan Burd (26:07.0) in his MU debut and sophomore Brad Eagan (26:12.5), who took 12th and 13th, respectively.
"Next week, the course will look a little different," Nelson said. "Today was hilly, while next week is flat as a pancake. As a runner, today is a good reminder of how much discomfort you have to go through during a race. Until you're at 6K of the 8K when your lungs are burning and legs are on fire, you forget how it feels. Today was a great reminder of that. That's going to be true again next week."
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