NMU cross country: Wildcats hosting U.P Championships on Friday

MARQUETTE – After competing on the road all season long, the Northern Michigan University women’s cross country team will host a meet Friday.

The Upper Peninsula Championship will be held at the NMU Golf course. The women’s 4-kilometer race will begin at 4 p.m., followed by a men’s 6K event at 4:45 p.m. Other teams taking part in Friday’s competition are Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech, Finlandia University and Gogebic Community College.

“We consider this race a little bit of a tune up,” Wildcat coach Jenny Ryan said. “The shorter course gives the runners a chance to run a faster pace than the normal 5K.

“We’re still training for the big meets like the (GLIAC) and regional championship races and we want them to run the same fast pace for those meets.”

The Wildcats climbed in the Midwest regional rankings this week to fifth place. They were previously unranked after a seventh place preseason mark.

“Our fifth place regional ranking is pretty exciting,” Ryan said. “It’s the highest we’ve been ranked in quite a few years.”

Three different runners have led the way for NMU in the four races so far this season. Sophomore Mary Kate Cirelli led the team at the Pre-GLIAC and Roy Griak Invite; junior Olivia Howard was the top NMU runner at the Midwest Collegiate Opener; and sophomore Megan Edic paced Northern at last weekend’s Lucian Rosa Invite.