Monday, November 17, 2008

Seniors Rudert, Diverio sent off with 16th-place finish

Darling paces Chippewas at 22 minutes, 49 seconds

Issue date: 11/17/08

By Anthony Fenech
Staff Reporter

The women's cross country team ended its 2008 campaign Saturday with a 16th-place finish at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championships at Purdue.

Sophomore Melissa Darling paced the Chippewas with a time of 22 minutes, 49 seconds and placed 72nd, marking the first time all season that a runner other than senior Amanda Rudert led the squad.

Coming off of a season-best performance at the Mid-American Conference Championships on Nov. 1, CMU just missed its goal of finishing between 10th and 12th place in the muddy, rainy and windy conditions in West Lafayette, Ind.

"We expected to finish higher," said head coach Karen Lutzke. "But we didn't get out fast enough and we had a hard time holding up and making up the ground."

Sophomore Danielle Dakroub placed 87th with a time of 23 minutes, 3 seconds, while Rudert finished the 6K race in 92nd place, four seconds behind, with a time of 23 minutes, 7 seconds.

CMU finished with 497 points, better than half of the field, and 425 points behind No. 17 Michigan, who, along with No. 8 Wisconsin, automatically will qualify for the NCAA National Championships.

"We just didn't have it yesterday," Lutzke said, when asked to compare her team's performance to the Nov. 1 MAC meet. "It's hard to do what we did that day every time, you're not perfect every meet."

CMU finished as the fourth MAC team in the meet, behind Miami University (6th), Akron (8th) and one spot behind Bowling Green (15th), a team CMU beat at the MAC meet.

Lutzke noted the conditions, especially the high wind gusts, were not ideal running conditions and did not help matters. But the team did not look at it as an excuse.

"Everybody has to run in those conditions so it's not an excuse," Rudert said. "Obviously it's harder to run like that,but we have to take it."

For seniors Rudert and Michelle Diverio, it was an emotional ending to their careers at CMU.

"We cried for a little while," Rudert said. "It was emotional just thinking back on our years and all the friends we made and competed with. I wish I could come back another year."

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