The Northern Illinois cross country team proved how big of a difference one year could make Saturday, as they claimed the team title at the UIC Opener.
Senior Courtney Oldenburg earned her first career win on the day to lead the Huskies to a first-through-fourth finish on the Horse Lake Trail.
“It was an exciting way to start the season,” said NIU head coach Greg Hipp.
“Certainly, we’ve come a long way from last season, finishing last at this meet to winning it pretty handily. Credit the work they’ve done over the past year and we ran really well. We hope to see it come together over the next two months.”
Oldenburg broke the tape with a time of 11:24.90 on the two-mile course, crossing the finish line with a six-second edge on the field. Ali Olson made an impressive debut for NIU by finishing second at 11:30.30, while fellow freshman Leah Raffety earned third place with an 11:31.10 clip.
The Huskie top four was capped off by sophomore Jamie Burr, who clipped UW-Green Bay’s Sarah Mauel with an 11:38.20 time – seven-tenths of a second quicker than Mauel.
The Huskies capped off their scoring with Claire McAuley’s 11th place finish, crossing the line at 11:59.50. In 12th place was Hannah Savage with a time of 12:06.00, while fellow newcomer Juliane Totzke opened her NIU cross country career in 15th place at 12:10.20.
NIU returns to the course Friday, Sept. 7, when they host the fifth annual NIU Open. The meet starts at 5 p.m. at the NIU North 40; admission is free.
For more information on NIU cross country and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.