Top 3 runners shine in Peoria 6K

By Rhema Rhea

Cross country continued to get solid performances out of its top two runners and had a surprise third runner rise to the occasion over the weekend.

The Huskies took 12th place out of 32 teams Friday at the Bradley Classic in Peoria.

Freshman Kelsey Hildreth, who is already the program record holder in the 5K, broke the 6K mark when she crossed the finish line in fourth place out of 294 finishers in the race, timing in at 20:55.7.

The two-year-old mark was owned by Courtney Oldenburg (21:29.00), but Hildreth surpassed the time by nearly 34 seconds.

The Huskies are “still pretty strong up front, but we got to finish off getting the four and five spots where they need to be,” said head coach Greg Hipp. “… We ended up 12th as a team out of 32 teams; [I] felt we could have been a little bit higher, but we just weren’t where we needed to be at the four and five” spots.

In the last meet before the Huskies take the course for the MAC Championships, senior Meghan Heuer joined Hildreth in the top 20 individually, placing 17th with a time of 21:40.3, which was the third-best 6K time of her career.

Freshman Lorena Martin had the best race of her career, running a 22:25.9, to finish 58th. At a pace of 6:01, Martin ran her 5K personal best in the race.

Junior Ali Olson struggled a bit in the race but still managed to finish in the top half, clocking a 23:09.6 for a 127th-place finish. Sophomore Carly Pederson finished in 140th with a 23:18.4.

Hipp said the biggest disappointment of the meet was the gap between the three and four runners, and that is something that needs to be improved before the conference championship Nov. 1.

“… Certainly Kelsey [Hildreth], being as good of a front runner as she is, is really helping us out, but we’re capable of being a team that’s a few places [higher] at a meet like this,” Hipp said. “We certainly need to [narrow the gap] if we’re going to be top half of the MAC in two weeks.”