Cross country finishes third at NIU Open

By Sean Anderson

NIU Cross country followed up its victory last weekend with a third place finish at the NIU Open Friday, while Northwestern took home the title.

Senior Courtney Oldenburg broke the school’s 34-year-old 5K record with the time of 18:07.81. Her time eclipsed NIU’s previous record of 18:12, which was set in 1978 by Colleen Buck.

Combined with her 6K record from 2010, Oldenburg now sits atop both lists in NIU history.

Oldenburg was at first really thrilled to set another record at NIU, but she still feels she can run faster.

“I was pretty excited when I found out that I broke the 5k record, even though it wasn’t that great of a time, I believe,” Oldenburg said. “I hope to run even faster and improve on the time that I just set, but I still have more to work on for the rest of the season.”

NIU cross country coach Greg Hipp believes a change from last season is that Oldenburg is more confident.

“Courtney‘s confidence is finally catching up with her and is changing her ability each week,” Hipp said. “She has always been confident. Last year she came in really fit but took a little bit to see the results that she wanted.”

Oldenburg was with the lead pack for the majority of the race; the senior was in fourth entering the final 100 meters. Oldenburg overtook Northwestern’s Lexie Goldsmith in the final meters to cross the finish line for a third place finish.

The Huskies also got good quality performances from freshmen Leah Raffety and Ali Olson. Raffety placed 13th with a time of 18:28.99, while Olson ran an 18:29.88 mark for a 14th place showing. This is the second straight race that the freshmen finished two-three for the Huskies.

“They both are very good recruits and have good talents that they can bring to NIU,” Hipp said. “Both of them work really hard on and off the track and are really competitive which makes them better.”