Cross-Country improving annually

By Krystal Ward

DeKALB | The cross-country team kicks off their new season after a record-breaking year in 2015.

The Huskies placed fourth in the conference indoor championships last season, tying their Mid-American Conference best at the event.

NIU tied their MAC best at the outdoor championship with a third place finish. Huskies distance runners more than doubled their previous best in the MAC Championship in 2015, totaling 61 points.

NIU set school records in the indoor 800 meters, the mile, the outdoor steeplechase and 5,000 meters.

Junior Kelsey Hildreth and senior Hope Schmelzle qualified for the NCAA West Regional. Hildreth competed in the 10,000 meters and Schmelzle competed in the steeplechase.

After breaking school and personal records in her first two seasons, Hildreth is returning for her third year.

Hildreth earned First Team All-MAC honors in 2014 and 2015 as a freshman and sophomore, respectively.

Last season at the Bradley Classic, Hildreth beat her previous sophomore 6K record with a time of 21 minutes and 35 seconds, and her personal best record with a time of 20:27.8.

Hildreth placed second with a time of 17:48.0 at the Illini Challenge last season, and also placed second at the Illinois State Invite with a time of 17:29.9.

Hildreth finished second at the MAC Championships on October 31, 2015 with a 6K time of 20:42.8

Sophomore Ericka Hibser earned second team All-MAC honors in her debut season, placing 14th in the MAC Championships with a 6K time of 21:43.2 Hibser also set a personal best 6km record with a time of 21:18.9 at the Bradley Classic.

NIU has six regular season meets before the championship portion of their season.

The MAC Championships take place Oct. 29 followed by NCAA Midwest Regional Championships on Nov. 11.

The Huskies’ first meet will be the Illini Challenge and will take place Sept. 2 in Champaign.