Eastern Illinois tops NIU at invite

By Chris Jurmann

Balance and depth are key for winning team sports, especially cross country.

Unfortunately for the Huskies, Eastern Illinois had too much depth to overcome as it defeated NIU 23-36 to capture the Huskie Invitational.

Despite not producing the first place runner, which went to Stephanie Bone of Eastern Illinois with a time of 15:09, the Huskies placed well at the top. NIU captured second place with Laura Dunn. Dunn completed the 2.5 mile run in 15:21.

“Laura Dunn and Michelle Rhoden really stepped it up and had some big performances,” NIU coach Shantel Twiggs said.

Fellow Huskie Michelle Rhoden finished just behind Dunn in third with a time of 15:25.

“I think I did alright,” Rhoden said. “I think I went out too fast though, but I know I had a real good kick at the end.”

After Dunn and Rhoden, the next four finishers were all members of EIU, giving the Panthers a large lead and propelled them to the victory.

The next NIU finisher came in eighth as Renee Kleckner completed the run with a time of 15:58.

“This is going to push them all forward. It shows them that they have a lot of room for improvement,” Twiggs said, “All they need to do is buckle down, get their mileage in and make it quality miles … The season is really up to us and how we end it.”