On Oct. 3, the Eastern Michigan University women’s cross country team traveled to South Bend, Ind. to compete in the Notre Dame Invitational.
The team saw immense improvement from last season. In 2013, the Green and White took 15th in the unseeded Gold Race. This year, the Eagles competed in the elite-level Blue Race and finished 11th with 309 points.
New Mexico (No. 12) easily won the overall title with 49 points. They finished with a margin of 74 points over North Carolina State. Charlotte After of NM was the overall winner with a finish in 16:09.30.
After a flurry of runners battled for the next six spots, including senior Victoria Voronko who finished sixth in a field of 165 in 16:20.60. Voronko showed immense individual improvement on the course, cutting over one minute off her mark from one season ago.
The next of the EMU harriers to cross the line was junior Sofie Gallein with a time of 16:55.70 for 31st. Not far behind Gallein was freshman Jordann McDermitt in 43rd with a time of 17:03.00. Senior Taylor Knoll barely missed out on the top-100, taking 110th in 17:40.60, while freshman Danielle Bentzley was the final scorer for the Green and White in 18:05.01.
The Notre Dame Invitational also included an Open Race in which the Eagles had one competitor, Freshman Claire Mesa, take on a field of 118 runners. Mesa finished in 19:58.50 (89th place).
The Eagles will take two weeks off before they participate in another nationally-touted competition. The team will travel back to Indiana for the Indiana State Pre-National Invitational, Oct. 18. As it has done in years past, the meet will serve as a chance for the Eagles to run the same course that will be used at the 2014 NCAA Championships. The first race of the day will start at 11 a.m.
Follow Jillian Seach on Twitter: @JSeachEcho