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Cross country excels at Lakefront Invitational

October 3, 2011

NIU Huskies women's cross country teamThe Northern Illinois cross country team returned from its two week break Saturday with a 20th place team finish at the Sean Earl Lakefront Invitational.

Individually, two Huskies – Courtney Oldenburg and Claire McAuley – both finished in the top 100 of a field that featured 538 runners from teams across the Midwest and parts of Canada.

“This is one of the better runs we have had in some time, but there are still some things to improve upon,” said NIU head coach Greg Hipp. “We’re improving with our fitness. It’s taking a little longer for our confidence to race at that level, so we need to work on that.”

“We’re much fitter than we were when we started in August. We just need our confidence to catch up to that fitness.”

Oldenburg, a junior from West Salem, Wis., led the Huskies with a 70th place finish overall, finishing the 5K Montrose Beach Course in 18:55.50. Following a few seconds behind was the sophomore McAuley in 91st place, who finished second among NIU runners for the second straight meet. McAuley crossed the finish line at 19:10.60.

Fellow sophomore Alexis Capps was third on the team with a time of 19:41.10 – good for 139th overall. One minute later, Jamie Burr finished the race in 254th place with a time of 20:48.70, while Katie Downin took 267th place with a 20:52.60 clip to wrap up the Huskie top five.

Katie Janssen finished 275th overall with a time of 20:58.20, while senior Jessica Troike crossed the finish line in 21:04.90 and 292nd place. Kristin Lawler closed out the NIU runners in 387th place in a time of 22:32.90.

“Our improvements in team culture have come quicker than I thought they would,” Hipp said. “I think that is what is leading to some of our improvements (on the course), more than anything.”

The Huskies will return to action on Friday, Oct. 14, when they head west for the Bradley Classic in Peoria, Ill. The meet begins at 4:20 p.m. on the Newman Golf Course with the women’s 6K run.

For more information on NIU cross country and Huskie athletics, visit