Runners Hildreth, Heuer break NIU 5K record

Meghan Heuer
Meghan Heuer

The Northern Illinois University women’s cross country team saw two runners break the school record in the 5K as the Huskies began their season in remarkable fashion Friday night at the Forest Park Festival race in St. Louis.

Freshman Kelsey Hildreth (17:20) and senior Meghan Heuer (18:01) both finished ahead of the previous NIU school record set by Courtney Oldenburg (18:07.81) in 2012.

Those two record-breaking times set collegiate personal bests for both runners and led the Huskies to a third-place finish at the Forest Park Festival race.

As a team, NIU finished just behind Missouri and Arkansas State, teams ranked No. 5 Midwest and No. 8 South Central respectively. The Huskies topped Southeast Missouri and UMKC.

“This was a good start for us. Being close to top 10 regional teams is a good indicator of our potential,” NIU head coach Greg Hipp said. “We’ve got some key people missing too, and when we’re back to full strength we’ll be ready to take things to a higher level.”

Also for the Huskies, Ali Olson finished in 16th place with a time of 18:40, Lorena Martin ran the race in 19:02, Taylor Perkins came in at 19:35 and Carly Pederson tallied a time of 20:16.

Hildreth’s time earned her second place in the race and was an incredible 47 seconds better than Oldenburg’s previous NIU record. She also finished ahead of Missouri’s returning All-American runner Kaitlyn Fischer, who took third.

Coach Hipp was very pleased with Hildreth’s individual performance, but he also believes she is one of three great runners that could lead the Huskies to success this season.

“That was an impressive freshman debut for Kelsey,” Hipp said. “She’s looked that good for weeks now. I’m confident Meghan and Ali can move up and give us a great front running group.”

NIU returns to action Oct. 4 at the Greater Louisville Classic. For more information on NIU cross country and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.

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