NMU cross country: Wildcats dominate U.P. Championship meet

MARQUETTE – In a battle of Upper Peninsula teams, Northern Michigan University’s women’s cross country squad came out on top Friday with no contenders in sight.

The ‘Cats dominated their home course, taking first through eighth place at the U.P. Championship. A Michigan Tech runner placed ninth, and NMU swiped spots 10-12, as well.

Northern finished with 15 points, MTU came in with 54 and Lake Superior State totaled 72. Gogebic Community College also competed, but didn’t have a team score.

“It was fun to see them just dominate the whole meet,”head coach Jenny Ryan said of her Wildcats. “They’re looking strong.”

Sophomores Megan Edic and Mary Kate Cirelli came in first and second for the ‘Cats, respectively, Edic running the course in 14 minutes, 41.3 seconds and Cirelli in 14:41.6. Both athletes ran at a pace of 6:07 minutes per mile.

Just seconds later, junior Christina Toogood passed through the finish line at 14:59.1, followed by senior Jordyn Ross at 15:00.7 and junior Larissa Halonen at 15:06.5.

Junior Olivia Howard (15:13.2), senior Chelsea Farquhar (15:34.2) and redshirt freshman Xavier Donajkowski (15:36.9) rounded out the top eight Wildcat finishers, all within a minute of Edic’s winning time.

“A couple of them are moving up from where they’ve been the whole season, and the ones that have been up there are staying up there,” Ryan said.

MTU was led by Sonja Hedblom, who placed ninth in 15:44.5).

The U.P. Championship was the Wildcats’ only home meet this season and Ryan said it was nice to compete at home. Northern has run the same NMU Golf Course layout for a few years, so most of the team is familiar with it.

“It’s fun to have a home crowd and see what we can do in front of everybody,” Ryan said.

The NMU cross country team made an appearance this week in the Division II National Coaches Poll, coming into this weekend at No. 20.

The ‘Cats travel to Houghton next weekend for the GLIAC Championship on Saturday. Including preseason, this will be the third time the team will race on Tech’s course.

“We’re just excited to see what we can do the rest of the season,” Ryan said.