Led by four runners in the top-14, Valparaiso's women's cross country team opened the 2005 season in impressive fashion on Friday afternoon, placing second out of eight teams at the Crusader Invitational held at Sunset Hills Farm.
The Crusaders tallied 55 points, trailing Oakland by just seven. Notre Dame was third with 72 points and Western Michigan was fourth with 86.
Freshman Laura Rolf (Rochester, Mich./Lutheran Northwest H.S.) led the way for the Brown and Gold with a runner-up finish with a time of 22:58, just 14 seconds off the pace. Rachael Button (Farmington Hills, Mich./Farmington H.S.) was fourth with a mark of 23:14 over the six-kilometer course. Danielle Nunnelly (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso H.S.) completed the trio of top-ten runners for Valpo, finishing eighth in 23:34.
Jobeth Schmiesing (Mankato, Minn./West H.S.) placed 14th for the Brown and Gold in her final Crusader Invitational with a time of 23:40. Ashley Billstrom (Hales Corners, Wis./Whitnell H.S.) completed the Valpo scorers, finishing 27th with a time of 24:28.
Valpo will return to action on September 23 as the Crusader run at the George Dales Invitational in Three Rivers, Mich.