NIU cross country finishes strong at Bradley “Pink” Classic


Courtesy of NIU Athletics

Then-redshirt senior Victoria Robinson runs at the Hawkeye Invitational in September 2021. The Huskies are set to begin their season Friday. (Photo courtesy NIU Athletics)

DeKALB – The Huskies crossed the finish line in 12th as a team on Friday afternoon in Peoria, Illinois at the Bradley “Pink” Classic. This is a 17-place improvement from the team’s 29th placing at the same event last year. Senior Brooke Valentine once again led the pack of red and black, placing 18th overall.

Head coach Jamie Moreno entered six total runners into the women’s white race, the second of two 6k races held at the event. Last year NIU competed in the red race.

“I thought we ran pretty well, had a pretty solid race,” Moreno said. “We still have four women that are out right now and we are hoping to get at least two of them back in two weeks for the MAC (Championship).”

Valentine paced excellently in a competitive race, rounding through the 2k mark in 28th at 7:26.8 and in the thick of the front-running pack. Running near-negative splits, she found herself moving up 10 places and finishing with an impressive time of 22:49.7. This clocks in as her fastest 6k of the year.

Sophomore Joy Jackson also recorded her fastest 6k of the year and scored second for the Huskies with a time of 23:35.4. She flirted with a top-30 placing with her increased tempo by the 5k split, before striding in at 41st overall.

The remaining Huskie runners used each other to pack-run and pace together. Sophomore Emma Vorpagel and junior Julia Finegan placed 100th and 104th with times of 25:11.6 and 25:22.9 respectively. Sophomore Olivia Southby and freshman Sarah McLaughlin rounded out the team with placings of 145th and 148th, finishing four seconds apart from each other.

Grand Valley State University easily took home the gold in the women’s white race, with all five scorers finishing in the top-10. Sophomore Madison King of Purdue University Fort Wayne claimed the individual crown with her time of 21:36.2.

The Bradley “Pink” Classic concluded regular season action for NIU cross country. They next compete in the MAC Championship race in Athens, Ohio on Saturday, Oct. 29th.