Tutt ready to come out of Terre Haute with honors to her name

By Marcel Carrasco

DeKALB – All-American is the ultimate goal.

That is what 2019 Mid-American Conference Champion Ashley Tutt said she is ready to fight for.

“I am so excited to be able to compete at such a prestigious event,” Tutt said. “I am confident going into the race, knowing I can still do something at nationals.”

Tutt will have a chance at national recognition as she gets one more opportunity to lace her shoes for the cross country team this season. The junior from Channahon will represent the Huskies Friday at the 2019 NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Indiana.

“Coming off [the 2019 NCAA Regionals] I know I can run [against] these girls,” Tutt said. “I just have to be confident in my training and have trust in my coach, and Saturday will be a great day.”

Tutt is coming off an impressive season, turning heads on her way to becoming the first Huskie to take the individual crown at the cross country MAC Championships. Tutt’s performance, along with junior Mackenzie Callahan and a deep roster, helped NIU place second in the conference race hosted by NIU at the North 40 course.

The performance in DeKalb secured the team a spot in the 2019 NCAA Regionals, hosted in Stillwater, Oklahoma, where NIU placed ninth of 33 participating schools. The ninth-place finish tied a school record for NIU, all possible because of contributions by Tutt, who zipped her way to a fourth-place individual position.

“It was such a tough race,” Tutt said. “It was the toughest course that I have ran on, but I love those courses. I knew I had to give myself a chance and belonged with anyone in the race. I was so happy once I crossed the line knowing I punched my ticket.”

With the MAC race and regionals on the horizon behind her, Tutt will now shift gears toward the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course, a course she’s familiar with.

After missing out on nationals in 2018, Tutt said this season she would make up for it, and an injury in the spring helped her realize how special this year could be for her and for her team.

“Just using last year as motivation and relying on my teammates everyday,” the national qualifier said. “We have gotten a lot closer this year and have had so much success as a team.”