NIU cross country hosts Midwest Regional


Courtesy of NIU Media Services-NIU’s Courtney Oldenburg keeps her pace at the NCAA Midwest Regional Saturday afternoon.

By Matt Hopkinson

On a cold and windy day Saturday, it seemed people were moving just to keep warm.

In actuality, there were hundreds of participants for the Midwest Regional at NIU Saturday afternoon. NIU knew it would host the event since roughly this time last year.

“We were certainly excited to have it at home,” said Greg Hipp, NIU head women’s cross country coach. “I think it says a lot for our course, our facility and for where our program’s headed. It raises a lot of confidence of what we can do in the future with our cross country program here.”

The event hosted many big programs, such as Iowa State, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State.

The men’s competition was a 10k race, which was won by Hassan Mead, a senior from Minnesota. Oklahoma State offered up four of the top six finishers in the men’s race and was were the winner of the top place for the team results.

“I liked [the track]; it was wide open,” said Nick Holmes, a junior from Iowa who finished 18th overall. “It was challenging. One of the most challenging I’ve ran on. It was hard the last couple loops on the hills and you just had to run smart.”

Following the men’s race, the women started off their race, which was a 6k run. This race saw participation from NIU as there is not a men’s cross country program.

The women’s race was not as hotly contested as the men’s race, with much greater differences in finishing time.

Pacing the race and finishing first was a junior from Wichita State, Aliphine Tuliamuk. Last year’s top place team was Iowa State, and it defended that by finishing first once again, putting in four of the top ten finishers for the women.

“The course was nice; it was challenging,” said freshman Kayla Beattie from Iowa. “It was good for spectators. I got to see my coach a lot during the run.”

The Huskies that participated did not enjoy a true home advantage as the highest place finisher was junior Courtney Oldenburg, who finished 121st. Also running for NIU was freshman Jamie Burr (164), sophomore Claire Mcauley (170), sophomore Katie Janssen, sophomore Alexis Capps (178), and in her last race of her college career senior Jessica Troike (189).

“I think it was a really good opportunity to have the event here at your home course, good to get our school known in the sense of having the bigger schools here with having all the people visiting as well,” Mcauley said.