DEKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois cross country team got their season started right Friday at the NIU North 40, as they defeated Division III power North Central in a dual-scored meet.
NIU placed six runners in the top seven, including first place finisher Leah Raffety and runner up Ali Olson.
"I really liked seeing the girls being aggressive early, but the heat kind of beat us up a little bit," said NIU Head Coach Greg Hipp. "I think, as we adapt to that and get into cooler temperatures in the regular part of the season, we'll look like a much stronger team. The girls really expected to do well today and win. We did, but they were still kind of disappointed with the performance because they have some pretty high standards for themselves right now. That's exciting to see that we can get a win and still not be content."
Raffety, a redshirt freshman from Machesney Park, Ill., took the individual title with a time of 19:29.85. Less than two seconds behind her was Olson, who crossed the line at 19:31.63.
After North Central got the third place individual, NIU claimed the next four places. Junior and team captain Jamie Burr placed fourth with a time of 19:56.44, while freshman Carly Pederson clocked in at 19:57.84 to round out the top five.
In sixth place was another new Huskie in Meghan Heuer. The St. Charles, Ill., native timed in at 20:17.89 in her first race sporting the Cardinal and Black. Rounding out the lead Huskies was Rachel Shoemaker, who finished seventh with a time of 20:21.63.
Three other Huskies finished the season-opening meet. Claire McAuley finished 13th with a time of 20:56.81, Chrissy Monson was 18th at 21:44.26 and Hannah Savage took 22nd at 22:10.77.
The Huskies run again next Friday when they head down I-39 to Bloomington/Normal for Illinois State's Redbird Invitational.