Eastern Michigan University’s women’s cross country team finished in second place with 69 points at the 2014 Mid-American Conference Championship Saturday.
In addition to the best conference finish that the Eagles have had since the 1991 season, senior harrier Victoria Voronko claimed the overall MAC Champion title.
Voronko paced the entire field in 20:21 and edged out runner-up Western Michigan University freshman Maria McDaniel by five seconds to take the first MAC cross country title of her career. With the victory, Voronko earned First Team All-MAC honors, becoming just the second Eagle to accomplish this feat after Carrie Gould picked up conference honors between 1996-2000.
“I’m really proud of Victoria’s win,” EMU coach Sue Parks said. “We knew that she would likely have to lead a good portion of the race in order to secure the win, and that isn’t an easy way to race. She did a great job handling the pressure of being the favorite. She has really helped elevate our team with her strong work ethic and toughness.”
Not far behind Voronko, coming in third for the Green and White was junior Sofie Gallein. She has shown steady improvement in her times throughout the season and came in with a 20:28 finish. Gallein also earned First Team honors for her performance.
With her time of 20:21, Voronko broke the MAC 6,000-meter record, previously held by three-time MAC Champion Juli Accurso of Ohio. Voronko shattered the past record of 20:35.3 by nearly 15 seconds and Gallein’s 20:28 finish also beat the previous record time.
The Eagles had one more harrier take home conference honors.
Freshman Jordann McDermitt finished ninth in 21:01 to earn All-MAC Second Team honors.
Next to cross the line was senior Taylor Knoll with a 23rd-place finish in 21:25. The Green and White’s fifth scorer was junior Amy Frauhammer in 21:55 for 33rd.
The Eagle squad had two more harriers competing for the team’s seven top spots as senior Marinja Manjon-Rivadulla finished 39th in 22:13 and freshman Lauren Pottschmidt rounded out the EMU lineup in 22:43 for 60th. Junior Rebecca Quaintance and freshman Danielle Bentzley also ran for the Green and White, finishing in 23:03 and 23:30, respectively.
The University of Toledo claimed the overall team title with 48 points, and all five of the team’s scorers earned all-conference honors. Toledo’s head coach Linh Nguyen was honored as the MAC Coach of the Year for his team’s performance.
“I’m pleased with the finish,” Parks said. “Our goal was to win, but Toledo ran a great race and they were just too much for us today. I’m proud of the way that the girls competed; they got out well and they didn’t back down the entire race. Our top-three runners made a strong statement once again, but we just didn’t have as much depth as Toledo. But it’s very satisfying to move up to the runner-up spot.”
Parks is looking forward to watching her team develop.
“The program is in good shape with Sofie and Jordann returning along with Anna Aldrich, who finished 19th in the MAC as a freshman last year and was out with an injury,” she said. “Amy has also improved tremendously and we have a number of other young runners who are working hard and are hungry to fill in for the seniors that we will lose.”
The Eagle harriers will have nearly two weeks before they take part in the NCAA Great Lakes Regional in Madison, Wisc. Nov. 14.
The regional race is slated to start at noon.