EMU - Women's Cross Country Finishes Program-Best Ninth at NCAA Championships

EMU - Women's Cross Country Finishes Program-Best Ninth at NCAA Championships

Provided by EMU

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (EMUEagles.com) – On a cold, windy day in Terre Haute, Ind., the No. 24 Eastern Michigan University women's cross country team ran to a ninth-place finish at the NCAA Championships, Saturday, Nov. 19, with a total of 316 points. The finish marked the team's best placing ever, as the Eagles took 22nd back in 1996, while the team also had their first All-American honoree since 1987.

"This is a huge achievement for our program," exclaimed Head Coach Sue Parks. "To finish the season with a top-10 team finish and an All-American is simply amazing. We knew that we had a chance to do well if we ran our own race and didn't get rattled by the fast start. We got out slower than what I hoped, but the girls remained patient and really pushed hard the last mile. I've never seen us finish stronger."

"I'm really proud of this team," stated Parks. "They came into the season with high goals and they were willing to put in the hard work to achieve those goals. We dealt with an injury setback over the last month and our depth was not quite as good as it was earlier in the season, but everyone stepped up and got the job done. It's been an incredible season."

The Eagles came into the race ranked No. 24, and certainly outperformed that figure by a wide margin. As they had done all year, the Green and White moved their way up the standings as the race progressed, propelling them from the middle-of-the-pack team wise into the top-10. Despite tough weather conditions, EMU capped its historic season with another fantastic performance. In fact, the ninth-place finish was the best by a Mid-American Conference team in conference history. Team scores at the event are calculated without individual runners included in the standings, meaning that an individual's actual finish may differ from their team-specific finish.

The first split of the 6,000-meter course had junior Jordann McDermitt (Davison, Mich. – Davison) leading the way for EMU, sitting 65th early on. Behind her, senior Alsu Bogdanova (Kazan, Russia – Lyceum #83) held 167th, while sophomore Sydney Meyers (Zionsville, Ind. – Zionsville Community) held 172nd.

McDermitt made a big jump at the second split, rising to 35th. Bogdanova improved her standing as well, jumping to 124th, while Meyers rose to 135th.

The final stretch of the race saw McDermitt improve her standing even further, as she raced across the finish line with a time of 20:14.6 to take 24th. Based on her top-40 finish, the Davison, Mich. native earned All-American honors, becoming just the second Eagle to accomplish the feat in program history, and the first since 1987.

Behind McDermitt, sophomore Natalie Cizmas (Clinton Twp., Mich. – Chippewa Valley) used a strong, late kick to run to 70th-place with a time of 20:41.1. Bogdanova moved up late in the race as well, clocking in at 20:44.5 to take 81st.

Meyers did the same, narrowly missing a top-100 finish after taking 102nd with a time of 20:51.0. Rounding out the Eagles was redshirt juniors Sofie Gallein (Gits, Belgium – University of Leuven) and Anna Aldrich (Fremont, Ind. – Fremont), who took 129th and 241st with times of 20:57.6 and 22:43.1, respectively.

"The future is bright for this team," said Parks. "We learned a lot about what it takes to compete well in the big meets and perform consistently. This is a talented and motivated group of runners that now knows what it takes to compete with the top teams in the NCAA. They will be hungry for more in the future."

This marks the end of the season for the Eagles, and it was one for the record books. A strong regular season, highlighted by the team's highest ranking ever at No. 13, led to a fantastic postseason, as the Green and White secured their second-ever MAC Championship. The year concluded with the team's second berth to the NCAA Championships in program history, and with the team returning a large number of contributors next season, Eastern will look to build on this year's success.

Team Results (6K)

9. Eastern Michigan 316 (18-54-64-79-101)

EMU Individual Results

24. Jordann McDermitt 20:14.6

70. Natalie Cizmas 20:41.1

81. Alsu Bogdanova 20:44.5

102. Sydney Meyers 20:51.0

129. Sofie Gallein 20:57.6

241. Anna Aldrich 22:43.1