Cross Country Finishes Strong at Great Lakes Regional
Nov. 11, 2016
MADISON, Wis. – The Marquette University men’s and women’s cross country teams put forth perhaps their top performances of the 2016 season, respectively, as the women placed 10th out of 32 teams and the men took 13th out of 30 teams at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championships held at the Zimmer Championship course in Madison on Friday.
Both teams outperformed their regional rankings as the women entered the competition ranked 12th, while the men were outside the top-15. In addition, each side showed a seven-place improvement from a year ago.
“They fought so hard today for each other,” Marquette head coach Mike Nelson said. “They set their goals pretty high at the beginning of the season and it was fun to see them compete so hard.”
The Great Lakes Region is one of the toughest regions in the country on both sides, but especially the women’s side as Michigan (5th), Eastern Michigan (13th) and Notre Dame (14th) are all ranked in the top-14, nationally, while Michigan State entered the weekend at No. 22. To move up seven spots is an impressive achievement.
“So many respectable cross country programs in our region and it’s tough to place high,” Nelson said. “You have to be ‘on’ and give a great effort because if you’re team is having an off race just a little bit, you can be exposed very quickly.”
In her final collegiate cross country race, senior Brittney Feivor was hovering around all-region status, an honor given to the top-25 finishers. Feivor placed 35th overall with a time of 20:54.2, only 15 seconds behind the 25th-best finisher.
“Brittney ran a very solid race, putting herself up near the all-region mark and battled the whole way,” Nelson said. “The difference between 10 spots can be less than 10 seconds. She’s put herself in elite company and I can’t say enough about the season and career she’s had at Marquette. She’s been one of the best cross country runners Marquette has ever fielded and it’s been a joy watching her compete so hard week-in and week-out.”
Juniors Jennifer Parker (21:21.9) and Jessica Parker (21:39.3) ran a tight race, finishing not too far behind Feivor, as the twin sisters placed 53rd and 72nd, respectively. Redshirt senior Clare McDonald (21:51.0) and sophomore Mary Hanson (22:01.7) had very impressive performances as well, taking 81st and 92nd overall.
“Clare and Mary had their best races of the season today,” Nelson said. “Not only has Clare added so much from a competitive standpoint, but she has added an element of leadership that is hard to match. Mary placed 123rd here last year as a member of Indiana State and stepped up today when we needed her to.”
For the men to place 13th as a team overall took a great deal of intestinal fortitude as they battled back from 19th at the first checkpoint, only 2 kilometers in, and were still in 16th with 2 kilometers to go.
“It was really inspiring to watch them work together as a team,” Nelson said. “I was yelling at them at 8K, ‘We’re in 16th and we’re really close.’ I could see it in their eyes how bad they wanted to move up and it was really awesome to witness.”
Sophomore Brad Eagan ran one of his best races of the season, pacing the Golden Eagles for the first time this year with a 61st-place overall finish in a time of 31:58.8 on the 10-kilometer course. Junior Alec Miller (32:00.7) was right there with him, taking 63rd, while freshman Daniel Pederson (32:05.2) finished a close third on the squad and 69th overall.
“Our strategy was to get out and establish ourselves, but not get over our heads the first half of the race, and then to really move the last 2 to 3 kilometers,” Nelson said. “To go from 16th to 13th in the final 2 kilometers shows how well they executed the plan and their toughness down the stretch.”
Sophomore Jon Klaiber (32:22.5) and junior Aric Miller (32:35.5) finished fourth and the fifth on the team and 85th and 99th overall, respectively. Meanwhile, juniors Kevin Ryan (33:29.9) and Jack Carpenter (33:59.8) 142nd and 163rd, respectively.
“We didn’t have any seniors on the starting line today and I think our performance really got them excited about not only future cross country seasons, but the upcoming track season as well,” Nelson said.
It was the top finish for the men since 2011 when they placed 11th overall at the regional, while the women put forth their top placing since 2008 when they were seventh overall. As far as the upcoming track season is concerned, the distance groups will have an important role as both the Marquette men's and women's track and field teams are defending BIG EAST Conference champions heading into the 2017 season.
Women's Championship Results:
35. Brittney Feivor (SR) 20:54.5
Top 10 Teams:
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