The University of Toledo women’s cross country team placed second with 56 points at the Northern Illinois University Huskie Challenge in DeKalb Friday evening, finishing behind the host school total of 32 points.
“Overall, it was a solid day for our women,” said first-year Head Coach Andrea Grove-McDonough. “We do not want to be at our best at this time of year. We want to be at our best when we come back to this course in six weeks. This was really like a fact-finding mission to get a feel for the course and get experience on it.”Sophomore Claire Steigerwald set the pace for the Rockets, crossing the finish line with a time of 22:38.1 to take seventh. Junior Michelle Hostettler stopped the clock at 22:53.1 to land ninth. Freshman Emily Vining posted a time of 22:55.1 to finish in 11th place.
“Claire Steigerwald had a very good day, and she handled herself really well, which was nice to see,” Grove McDonough said. “She’s going to look great on the course again come the end of October, so I feel good about that. Emily Vining had an outstanding day for a freshman, as well, running her first 6K on such a difficult course.”
On the men’s side, freshman Jacob Harris’ collegiate debut was a memorable one after he captured the individual title. Harris crossed the finish line with a time of 25:52.1 over 8,000 meters to help the Rockets to a fourth-place team finish.
“Obviously, Jacob Harris getting the win was terrific,” Grove McDonough said. “He was very controlled, he ran with lots of poise. You really can’t ask for more than that in your collegiate debut, to come away with a win. Raymond Korir had a really nice day in his debut for us, as well. I really felt good about our men out there today and really encouraged about our men’s program moving forward and being considerably improved from where they were a year ago.”
Sophomore Raymond Korir also made an appearance in the top five, stopping the clock at 26:19.1 to finish fourth. Freshman Jake Rethman was the third Rocket to cross the finish line, posting a time of 27:19.0 to take 21st place.
The men’s and women’s cross country teams will be back in action Saturday, Sept. 28, for the Ohio State Invitational in Columbus. Competition is slated to start at 9 a.m.