Cross Country Opens Season at NIU Huskie Open

Kayla Spencer, from Elmhurst, Ill., will make her collegiate debut in her home state.

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MILWAUKEE - The Marquette University men’s and women’s cross country squads kick off the 2012 campaign on Friday, Sept. 7 at the NIU Huskie Open in DeKalb, Ill. at the NIU North 40.

The men’s 6k race is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. with the women’s 5k contest to follow at 5:45 p.m.

Men’s student-athletes competing (16):
Agnew, Callahan, Campbell, Corr, Gedwill, Grese, Haberkorn, Hackett, Hennessey, Lacy, McDonald, Ross, Sajdak, Schmitz, Tineo-Paz, Young

Men’s teams competing (4):
DePaul, Marquette, UIC, Chicago State

Women’s student-athletes competing (14):
Ball, Budelier, Frett, Greenwood, Hanson, Hoffman, Loprieno, Magliola, Meyle, Pachuta, Poirier, Robertson, Sliepka, Vicker

Women’s teams competing (6):
NIU, DePaul, Northwestern, Marquette, UIC, Chicago State

MU MEN LEAN ON EXPERIENCE IN 2012: The Marquette University men's cross country team returns a great deal of experience in 2012, even with the loss of two of its most decorated runners. The Golden Eagles return 13 runners from 2011, including six who have competed in at least a pair of BIG EAST Conference Championships.

Seniors Connor Callahan, A.J. Gedwill, Jack Hackett and Patrick Maag along with junior Jack Senefeld competed in both the conference meet and NCAA Great Lakes Regional last fall.

MU MEN TABBED EIGHTH IN PRESEASON USTFCCCA GREAT LAKES REGION: The men’s squad is ranked No. 8 in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association's (USTFCCCA) Great Lakes Region preseason poll. The Wisconsin men received the top spot in the region, while fellow BIG EAST Conference members Notre Dame and Cincinnati are No. 4 and No. 11, respectively. The MU women are unranked.

FAMILIAR STORIES FOR WOMEN’S NEWCOMERS: The Marquette women’s squad adds four newcomers to the mix in 2012 and all have unique ties to MU cross country and track and field.

Molly Hanson (Dodgeville, Wis./Dodgeville) is the sister of former Marquette track and field All-American Michaela Courtney (2006-1,500 meters), while both of Sarah Poirier’s (Wausau, Wis./West) parents attended Marquette. Hanson was the WIAA Division 2 state cross country champion in 2011, while Poirier was an all-state performer and valedictorian of her high school class.

Kellie Greenwood (Two Rivers, Wis.) comes from the same Two Rivers High School that produced MU All-Americans Brianna Dahm (2003 and 2005-steeplechase) and Amy Erickson (1997-cross country). Elmhurst, Ill.-product Kayla Spencer is from York High School which has sent numerous student-athletes to MU in recent years.

• Head coach Mike Nelson begins his sixth season with the Golden Eagles in 2012.
• Top two runners for the MU men in 2011, Blake Johnson and Peter Bolgert, have both expired their eligibility.
• Six returning men’s runners have competed in at least a pair of BIG EAST Conference Championships.
• Senior Connor Callahan is the only returning student-athlete to have run in the last three conference and NCAA Great Lakes Regional meets.
• Five MU women have competed in at least one conference and NCAA regional meet.
• Although having spent their high school years in Southeastern Wisconsin, MU has a pair of foreign-born runners in Sarah Ball (England) and Andres Tineo-Paz (Venezuela).

UP NEXT: The Golden Eagles travel to Notre Dame on Friday, Sept. 14 for the National Catholic Championships, where the Marquette men finished second and the women third in 2011. The since-graduated Blake Johnson led the MU men last year with a fifth-place overall finish, while the women were paced by then-freshman Kenzie Vicker, who placed 26th overall.




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