Loras Women’s Cross Country: Unfinished Goal

Alexis Riesberg (TheLorian)

The Loras Women’s Cross Country team has started spreading their wings this season. The Du’s have been successful so far in the season, but have an unfinished goal they want to achieve. In 2019, the team placed third at regionals, which typically guarantees an at-large bid from the NCAA Committee, but with a lack of representation from their region, the spot was offered to another team. Last season, the NCAA didn’t have nationals for cross country, so the team only competed against other American Rivers Conference teams due to COVID-19. Coming off an outdoor national title in track and field, the women’s cross country team has big goals. This season, the Duhawks are ready to check their unfinished goal by making it to nationals. Many of the current women on the team remember what happened in 2019 and are making sure history doesn’t repeat itself.

The team has been ranked all season. Going into the season, the Duhawks were ranked number 26 in the national rankings, which hasn’t happened since 2016 when the team was ranked number 30 going into the season. 32 schools qualify for the national meet. They are currently number 35 in the nation, but this ranking is expected to improve after the way the Duhawks performed on Friday, Oct. 1, at Augustana. They placed second overall, scoring 57 points behind number 3 in the nation, the University of Chicago. 

Leading the team this season is senior Kassie Rosenbum, who just broke the school record in the 6,000-meter race at Augustana with a 20:26, breaking the 2016 record. Senior Valerie Herbst also had a great performance at Augustana, tying the ninth-fastest time in Loras history. The women are coming off an exceptional race and will bring that moment with them to their next race.

The Duhawks have this week off but will be back competing on Saturday, Oct. 16th in Portland, Oregon. The Lewis and Clark Invitational will have tough competition for the Duhawks including schools across all NCAA divisions and other nationally-ranked teams.

This will be the Duhawks’ last meet before they enter into “championship season,” where they will race conference, regionals, and nationals. They aren’t going to let any meets go to waste. Duhawks have shown up every meet this season and will continue to do that to work towards their unfinished goal.

After their hard work on the course, they plan to “geek out” running the rest of the trip. Duhawks are using Fall Free Days to the fullest, spending all five days in Oregon. This includes visiting the University of Oregon, one of the nation’s best running programs; exploring Nike’s campus that has over 75 buildings; and running the Prefontaine Trail (AKA Track Town USA). There are many exciting experiences the Duhawks are anticipating, but first and foremost, they are here to race and get one step closer to checking off their unfinished goal.

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