The women’s cross country team has been in top form to open the 2010 season, and coaches across the region are taking notice.
The Blue Streak women were voted the seventh-best Division III team in the Great Lakes region in the Cross Country Coaches Association rankings last week after opening the season with solid performances at the Sayre Invitational and Sudeck Classic.
“This is just the beginning,” head coach Dara Ford said. “We will just continue to improve, and hope to ride the momentum.”
The ranking matches John Carroll’s highest-ever poll result, a mark that was set by last year’s squad just before the NCAA Regional Championships. The JCU women’s team won the team title at the Sayre Invitational and placed third overall in the Sudeck Classic.
Over the weekend, both the men’s and women’s cross country teams competed in the National Catholic Championships, held on Sept. 17 at the University of Notre Dame. Once again, the women’s team showed their mettle, finishing eighth among Division II and III schools participating in the meet.
“It’s the pack mentality that will take us far,” Ford said.
Sophomore Ashley Aberl led the way for the Blue Streaks, finishing 16th among all Division II and III runners with a time of 19:25. Aberl was followed by senior Kelly Grieve, 43rd in 20:09, and junior Megan Lutz, 46th in 20:14.
The men’s team had a solid outing in South Bend as well, finishing 13th out of 25 Division II and III schools.
The team finished the meet with three Blue Streaks placing in the top 100 runners in the division. They were led by junior Jake Smith who finished 31st in the division with a time of 27:16.
Rounding out the top three for the Blue Streaks were freshman Chuck Mule, 47th in 27:30, and sophomore Pat Burns, who crossed 73rd in 27:56.