Cross country finishes 25th of 31

By Rhema Rhea

Cross country didn’t get the help it would have liked from runners in the middle of the pack over the weekend.

The Huskies placed 25th out of 31 teams Saturday at the Greater Louisville Classic in Louisville, Ky.

“We continue to look pretty good up front, but we [have] to get a lot better at our … three, four and five [runners], and we haven’t been able to make those moves yet,” said head coach Greg Hipp. “We were missing Ali [Olson] this week; she’s been sick all week, [so] that hurt us in the three spot. Four and five is where we kind of continue to not yet reach potential, and we [have] to step up there if we want to be successful team-wise.”

For the second-straight meet, NIU was paced by freshman Kelsey Hildreth, who finished in 23rd place out of 300 runners, crossing the finish line at 17:36.32. Senior Meghan Heuer, who along with Hildreth broke the program’s 5K mark at the Forest Park Festival Sept. 12, posted another sub-18 minute race, breaking the tape at 17:50.61 and finishing in 40th place.

“Meghan [Heuer] was … a little bit improved from the first meet,” Hipp said. “If this season is anything like last year she kind of came on stronger at the end, and hopefully we continue to see that upward movement for Meghan [Heuer], and her and Kelsey [Hildreth] can give us a strong one-two [punch] at the MAC meet. We just need them to continue to build off what they’re doing to give us that.”

Freshman Lorena Martin finished in 211th place, clocking in at 19:15.02. Twelve spots behind Martin, redshirt freshman Taylor Perkins was the next cardinal and black finisher, crossing the finish line with a time of 19:21.66. In her first race of the season, senior Jamie Burr finished the race in 19:38.36 to take a 244th-place finish. Sophomore Carly Pederson fell outside of the top 250 finishers, placing in 252nd place with a time of 19:43.99.

“We currently have some people that can be better for us there that are out,” Hipp said. “But, we also have people that are capable of stepping up in those spots. We just need them to run to [their] potential.”