The Valparaiso women’s cross country team kicked off the 2010 season Friday at Sunset Hills Farm with the Crusader Open for the 17th straight year, finishing in third place among the five competing teams. Freshman Grace Shemwell (Clinton, Iowa/Clinton) led the Crusaders in her first collegiate race.
Shemwell covered the 5K course Friday in 19:17.84, good for a 12th place finish overall in the 46-runner field. Right behind the rookie in 13th position was fifth-year senior Whitney Bowman (Portage, Ind./Portage [Purdue]), who just narrowly missed her career 5K time, crossing the line in 19:29.03.
Two other Crusader newcomers finished within the top-20, as Claire Johnson (Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie) placed 16th with a time of 19:33.07 and Nicole Zehel (Wixom, Mich./Lutheran Westland) came home in 19:58.47, finishing in 20th place. Sophomore Haley Kerlin (Rensselaer, Ind./Rensselaer) rounded out Valpo’s top-five runners with a 22nd place showing, completing the race in a career-best time of 20:00.97.
Valpo tallied 76 points for its third-place finish, outpacing IPFW and fellow Horizon League competitor Green Bay. Notre Dame edged out Western Michigan for the team title, 27-28. Western Michigan’s Sam Tomerlin took individual top honors, covering the course in 18:06.62.
Valparaiso returns to action in two weeks, as the Crusaders head to Michigan State to take part in the Spartan Invitational on Friday, Sept. 17.