Valparaiso University's women's cross country team placed all five scorers in the top-16 places overall as the Crusaders earned a third place finish at the Mid-Continent Conference Cross Country Championships held in Tulsa, Okla. on Saturday morning. The third place finish is the best in school history for the Brown and Gold.
Valpo totaled 68 points in the meet, trailing runner-up Oakland by just three. Southern Utah ran away with the title with 26 points. Western Illinois finished fourth with 93 points, followed by IUPUI (130), UMKC (165), Oral Roberts (181), and Chicago State (220). Centenary did not field a full squad.
The Crusaders finished as a pack near the top as five funners finished within seven spots of one another, separated by less than 30 seconds. Freshman Danielle Nunnelly (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso H.S.) led the Brown and Gold with a 10th place finish with a time of 23:03.27 over the six-kilometer course. The time was her best collegiate mark ever at that distance.
Junior Rachel Nelson (Lee's Summit, Mo./Lee's Summit H.S.) was second for the team and 13th overall with a year's best time of 23:16.42. Senior Amy Mikel (Lemont, Ill./Fenwick H.S.) was less than a second behind Nelson with a time of 23:17.39, also a season's best.
Amanda Lee (South Lyon, Mich./South Lyon H.S.), another senior, finished fourth for the team and 15th overall with a time of 23:20.84. Heidi Nathan (Medford, N.Y./Patchogue-Medford H.S.) rounded out the scorers for Valpo, one spot behind Lee. Nathan crossed the finish line in 23:30.72.
Sophomore Jobeth Schmiesing (North Mankato, Minn./Mankato West H.S.) turned in a career best time of 24:08.89 for the Brown and Gold, placing 32nd overall.
Valparaiso, which had a best Mid-Con finish of fourth prior to the race, will conclude the season in two weeks. On November 15, the Crusaders will compete at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championships held in Terre Haute, Ind., with the women's race starting at 11:15 a.m. CST.