The Eastern Michigan University men’s and women’s cross-country teams were hoping for better finishes Friday at the 58th annual Notre Dame Invitational, but their experience will have to do for now.
The women’s cross-country team finished 15th overall with 339 points. The Eagles had two runners finish in the top-50 of the 5000-meter race.
The Eagles were led by junior Victoria Voronko once again finishing second out of 212 total runners with a time of 17 minutes, 21.9 seconds. The other Eagle to finish in the top-50 was senior Kayla Pfund finishing 36th overall with a time of 18:32.3.
Last year at the Notre Dame Invitational, the Eagles finished fourth in the women’s gold race. On Friday, Voronko finished a seed higher than last year’s finish— shaving 12 seconds off of her time.
Overall, the Eagles had three runners finish in the top-100, and six runners placing within the top-200. Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan, and Western Michigan were the three Mid-American Conference schools to participate in the invitational.
As a team CMU finished ahead of EMU placing fourth, while Western Michigan finished 22nd in the gold race.
Another EMU runner finishing in the top-100 includes junior Marina Manjon-Rivadulla. Rivadulla finished 72nd with a time of 19:01.6.
The men’s cross-country team finished 18th overall in the blue division with 461 points. The Eagles fell short of matching their 12th place finish from last year at South Bend. EMU competed against nine of the top-40 best cross country teams in the nation.
However, men’s cross-country head coach John Goodridge wasn’t too thrilled about how his team ran on Friday despite the nationally-ranked competition.
“We were looking for a much higher team placing in this field which included many nationally ranked teams,” Goodridge said. “We will learn from this and look forward to our next competition.”
EMU had two runners finish in the top-100 of the 8000-meter blue race; while, five runners finishing within the top-200 out of a total of 209 runners. The Eagles had two runners finish in the top-ten of the JV Open Race.
“This was an opening race for most of our top athletes,” Goodridge said. “And in this intense competition there is little room for strategic errors.”
The Eagles were led by senior Harry Dixon who finished 43rd with a time of 25:11.2. Not too far behind was senior Grzegorz Kalinowski who finished 52nd with a time of 25:16.6.
Goodridge said that the Notre Dame Invitational had very hot and humid weather conditions.
“Temperatures were approaching 80 degrees making for very difficult challenging weather conditions,” Goodridge said.
The men’s cross country team will be traveling next week to compete in the Michigan Intercollegiates meet at 4:45 p.m., Friday in Hillsdale, Mich.
The women’s cross country team will be off next week preparing for the Pre-NCAA Invitational at 11 a.m., Oct. 19 in Terre Haute, Ind.
Follow Arturo Rodriguez Jr. on Twitter @turorodz.