MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University cross country team concluded the 2012 season with an eighth place finish at the NCAA Midwest Regional. The Wildcats closed out their 11th season under head coach Jenny Ryan by winning three of its seven meets and finishing fourth at the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship.
NMU opened the season at the Michigan Tech Open on Aug. 31, dominating to take the first 12 collegiate spots, and a perfect team score with 15 points. Junior Mandy Dye placed first, 34 seconds ahead of teammate sophomore Olivia Howard. In third was freshman Megan Edic with sophomore Katie Granquist and senior Rita Woitas in fourth and fifth. Rounding out the top 12 was freshman Mary Kate Cirelli, junior Jordyn Ross, sophomore Larissa Halonen, freshman Alex Bott, freshman Hannah Boyer and sophomore Chelsea Farquhar.
The following week (Sept. 8), the ‘Cats earned its second first place finish of the season at the Midwest Collegiate Open meet on the campus of the UW-Parkside. The Wildcats scored 47 team points, beating 16 other schools. Dye led for the second week in a row, finishing fifth overall with a time of 18:57.0. Junior Mallory Celaya was two spots back with a time of 19:13.3 in seventh place. Cerelli rounded out the top 10, with Woitas and Howard rounding out the scoring in the 12th and 13th spots.
At the Blugold Invite in Eau Claire, Wis. on Sept. 21, the ‘Cats finished in sixth place, finishing ahead of 11 other schools. Celaya was the top finisher for the Wildcats in 19th place, Howard was 33rd and Halonen in 38th. Granquist (43rd) and Woitas (53rd) finished out the scoring for NMU.
Celaya was named the GLIAC Cross Country Runner of the Week after the Blugold Invite.
In the largest national cross country invite, the Roy Griak (Sept. 29), the Wildcats competed against 38 other teams in the Maroon Division to finish in ninth place. Celaya once again was NMU’s top finished in 28th place. Dye was right behind Celaya in 33rd, with Edic (58) and Halonen finishing in the top 75. Cirelli (85), Ross (92), Granquist (94) and Howard (100) closed out the top 100.
On Oct. 12, the ‘Cats hosted its lone home meet of the year, the U.P. Championship, finishing first place with a perfect team score of 15. Dye won the four-kilometer race with in 14:45 while Halonen was five seconds back in second. Edic (14:52), Cirelli (14:53) and Celaya (14:53) also contributed to scoring for the ‘Cats.
At the GLIAC Championship (Oct. 20) from Maple Leaf Golf Course in Linwood, Mich., NMU finished fourth. Dye was NMU’s top finisher in the in 19th place with a time of 22:14.2. Celaya was three spots and three seconds behind Dye. Halonen (22:28.9) was third for NMU in 31st place, and Edic was two spots behind. Granquist (35), Cirelli (36) and Woitas (58) also competed raced.
After having two weeks to prepare, the team traveled to Somers, Wis. for the NCAA Midwest Regional (Nov. 3). NMU finished eighth out of 23 teams with 245 points. With the eighth place finish, the ‘Cats improved from an 11th place finish in 2011. Celaya once again was the first Wildcat to cross the line in 22:23 for 34th place. Cirelli was 17 seconds behind in 47th, with Dye two seconds and three places behind in 50th.
Six of the top seven and nine of the top 10 runners return for the Green and Gold in 2013.
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