Sept. 30, 2011
South Bend, Ind. --- It was a picture perfect day to run cross country in Albuquerque, with a high of 77, no wind, and hardly a cloud in the sky. Unfortunately, the Lobo cross country team wasn’t running in Albuquerque. They were in South Bend. A very wet, cold, windy, rainy South Bend.
New Mexico was put to the test as far as the elements were concerned, and the No. 2-ranked women’s team finished third in the Adidas Notre Dame Invitational, while the No. 21-ranked men’s team finished eighth.
Ruth Senior led the way on the women’s side with an 11th place finish for the Lobos over the 5k course. On the men’s side, Nicholas Kipruto finished seventh, and Ross Millington was ninth over the 5-mile course.
The races featured a combined 13 nationally-ranked squads, six on the women’s side, and seven on the men. Most everyone was hampered by brutal conditions as temperatures dipped into the low 50s with rain throughout. The wind gusted to 40 MPH, and was a steady 20-30 throughout both races.
Seventh-ranked Florida State won the Invitational with a team score of 54, as all five scorers finished in the top 20, including three in the top 10. Arkansas, ranked No. 18, finished second with 116 points. After New Mexico (164 points) was Penn State (28th, 188 points) in fourth, host Notre Dame (210 points) in fifth, and No. 29 BYU (254 points) in sixth.
The women’s race was won by SMU’s Silje Fjortoft in a time of 16:54. Senior’s time of 17:17 was just seven seconds out of fifth place, and 15 seconds out of second, as the first 15 places came in within seconds of each other over the sloppy, puddle strewn track.
Kirsty Milner was the only other Lobo in the top 20, coming at 20th with a time of 17:27. Other scorers for the Lobos included Lacey Oeding (28th, 17:35), Josephine Moultrie (45th, 17:47), and Imogen Ainsworth (60th, 17:53). Other Lobos racing were Sarah Waldron (94th, 18:11), Kirsten Follett (117th, 18:20), Kaitlyn Berry (129th, 18:28), and Emma Reed (145th, 18:38).
“It was a good start to the competitive season,” said head coach Joe Franklin. “The women ran as expected, and considering all the runners we had who had not raced much for us, I thought we competed well.”
Ainsworth, Moultrie, and Oeding were running for the first time this year, and Follett and Barry ran in the Lobo Invitational, a non-scoring meet. All-American Natalie Gray, who finished 12th at the NCAAs a year ago, did not run on Friday. Oeding was actually competing in a race for the first time since 2009.
On the men’s side, Kipruto once again earned a top-10 finish, clocking in at 24:12 to finish 7th. It’s Kipruto’s fifth top 10 finish in his last seven races dating back to the start of the 2010 season. Ross Millington, running for the first time in 2011, finished ninth, his third top 10 in his last four races. Millington ran the 5-mile course in 24:17.
Sean Stam also saw his first action of the year, finishing 42nd at 24:52. Other Lobos finishing were Allen Pittman (102nd, 25:30), Pat Ortiz (112th, 25:36), Sam Evans (116th, 25:39), Pierre Malherbre (123rd, 25:46), Julien DiMaria (153rd, 26:08), and Vincent Montoya (164th, 26:17).
BYU, which entered the weekend No. 14, now of the West Coast Conference, won the event with 46 points, as it had the individual champion and five top 20 finishers. No. 10 Florida State was second, No. 12 Princeton was third, No. 3 Stanford finished fourth, followed by Washington State, UCLA, and Texas A&M.
BYU’s Miles Batty edged Princeton’s Donn Cabral, finishing at 23:59 to Cabral’s 24:00.
The Lobos will have a week off before heading to the Wisconsin Invitational in Madison for their final regular season meet of the year.