Monday, November 3, 2008

Women also take fourth at MACs

Issue date: 11/3/08

By Anthony Fenech
Staff Reporter

Joined by a throng of supporters, the women's cross country team traveled to the 2008 Mid-American Conference Championships in Ypsilanti and performed the best it had all year.

All nine runners turned in personal best runs as the team finished fourth behind Miami University, Akron and Ohio, respectively. It was CMU's best MAC finish since finishing fourth in 2001.

"I was very pleased," said coach Karen Lutzke. "It was a great effort from top to bottom and that's what needs to happen in a meet like that."

Senior Amanda Rudert once again paced the Chippewas with her best collegiate 5K time of 17 minutes, 46 seconds, breaking her previous record of 18:07.

"We were really excited heading into the meet, committed to competing the entire way and it paid off," Rudert said. "I couldn't have asked for anything more from our performance."

The Chippewas were accompanied by a fan base that, according to Rudert, easily was the best there.

"Our fans were unbelievable," Rudert said.

Made up of family, friends, fellow cross country runners that did not compete and even men's and women's track members, the group was decked out in CMU gear, singing the fight song and shouting motivation the entire race.

"It's all about the program and that kind of support proves it," said Lutzke. "It helps with the girls motivation throughout the course and makes it better when you perform well."

Rudert was followed by sophomore Melissa Darling (18:05), senior Michelle Diverio (18:07), sophomore Danielle Dakroub (18:15) and freshman Raeanne Lohner (18:18) to round out the team's top five.

Central narrowly missed its target of five runners in the meet's top 30. It had three runners with its fourth and fifth runners standing in 33rd and 37th place. The success means the team likely will pass Bowling Green, Toledo and Kent State in the new regional rankings.

Ohio junior Annie Beecham won the meet with a time of 16:56 and Miami won the meet with a score of 39. It had all of its runners place in the top 20.

CMU takes a two-week break from competition to gear up for the Great Lakes Regional, where it most likely will need a top-two finish to qualify for Nationals.

The regional consists of a strong group of teams from the MAC and Big Ten.

"We're running in the right direction," Lutzke said. "We'd like to beat a few more teams before we're done."

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