Monday, October 6, 2008

Rudert bests own record by nearly 30 seconds

Issue date: 10/6/08

By Anthony Fenech
Staff Reporter

For the second time in two races, Amanda Rudert set a new personal record to lead the women's cross country team to a seventh-place finish in Friday's Notre Dame Invitational.

Rudert, a senior, finished 15th out of 198 runners with a time of 18 minutes, 6 seconds, eclipsing her previous record set on Sept. 19 by 25 seconds.

CMU's 223 points were only 20 behind sixth-place Ohio University, last year's MAC champion.

"We were pleased with our performance," Rudert said. "We did a nice job moving up throughout the race and passing competitors in the last mile."

Both Rudert and coach Karen Lutzke complimented the team's improvement in pack running.

After sophomore Danielle Dakroub's 42nd-place finish, four CMU runners finished close together in a pack - Raeanne Lohner (18:46, 57th overall), Michelle Diverio (18:46, 59th), Sarah Squires (18:47, 60th) and Brittany Dixon (18:47, 61st).

"They did a good job and ended up together at the end," Lutzke said.

Lutzke said she would like to see the pack finish 10 to 15 seconds faster, roughly around where Dakroub finished.

"We're definitely getting there and we're so versatile as far as different people being able to step it up," Lutzke said.

Rudert was attempting to break the 18-minute mark, but a slow start hindered her ability to position herself at the beginning of the race.

"You can only catch up so much," Lutzke said, pointing out that Rudert stood around 45th place at the mile mark, doing a good job of catching up toward the end of the race.

Twenty-three teams ran in the Gold Division race, won by Michigan State with 76 total points. Junior Sarah Squires felt the experience against a tougher and bigger field was good for the team.

"We proved to ourselves that we can be right up there with the best of them," Squires said. "This was the biggest race of the year so far and it was great to get the opportunity."

Both Lutzke and her players said the course was narrow at points, which at times proved to make the running very crowded.

"We needed that kind of a race because our upcoming meets will be just as competitive if not more so," Squires said.

CMU will compete in the Michigan Intercollegiates on Friday in Milford before traveling to Terre Haute, Ind., for NCAA Pre-Nationals on Oct. 18.

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