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(Grand Rapids, Mich.) The combination of good weather, a good course, and good competition produced great results for the CU Women's Cross Country team at the Calvin College Knight Invitational.
With the temperature near 60 degrees the air was almost autumn crisp and while the leaves in the wooded section of the course hadn't started to change colors, the ground was hard and fast. The fourteen-team field included nationally rated schools from NCAA division III and the NAIA. Coming into the meet, Cornerstone needed to race well to improve on the 30th place in the weekly NAIA poll. The Golden Eagles put their sights on number fifteen ranked Aquinas and number seventeen, Spring Arbor. The early pace away fast as the race got underway. Andi Ripley stuck to the back of the large front group passing through the mile mark in 5:41. The next four CU harriers arrived at 6:05.
Ripley held fifteenth place then out sprinted Spring Arbor'stop runner to finish fourteenth in 18:38, a personal best by 23 seconds. Melissa Sawicki shaved two seconds off her PR clocking 19:07 for 26th. Nicki Erler took sixteen seconds off her previous best finishing 31st in 19:24. Janelle Lindman turned in a season-best 19:43 in 52nd and Janey Sluka lowered her PR an amazing 56 seconds to finish 58th in 19:47. In addition to the personal best times, the CU women tied the school record of 1:36:39 for the fastest 5k team time.
The results brought even better news, Cornerstone finished seventh with 181 points, ahead of Spring Arbor in eighth with 186. Aquinas was fifth at 149. Calvin won the meet with 28.
"We got what we were looking for today," said coach Rod Wortley. "The women executed the race plan extremely well and matched up well with the teams we wanted to beat."