Cross Country kicks off season at home for first time in 39 years

Men’s team takes 5th place, women’s team takes 9th

It’s been 39 years since NKU held a cross country meet on campus, and the 36th Queen City Invitational just broke that streak. The Norse men’s team took fifth place with 125 points overall while the women’s squad placed ninth with 233 points on Saturday.

“You know we’ve hosted meets, but they’ve all been off campus and we kind of depended on other people and our track team a lot more than today,” head coach Steve Kruse said. “With it truly being on campus, it’s just a lot easier.”

Getting the course was “a total team effort” from various people in the athletic department, roads and grounds, and the maintenance division of the university. It took some preparation that started last fall and continued all summer long.

“It’s nice to be able to have a home course and have people from NKU be able to walk to the meet,” senior Hannah Tobler said. “And that results in a lot more support than from the past few years.”

The course has an “old school” feel, Tobler said.  The trail is windy, has hills, and sharp turns, so knowing when to play it smart and when to go was key in this meet.

“Some of the courses we run on are pretty well manicured and some of them are golf courses,” Tobler said. “So this was a little bit more with the spirit of cross country than the other courses have been.”

The Queen City Invitational brought 14 teams for the men’s race with 178 runners on the course and the women’s race had  12 teams with 149 runners on the trail.

Alec Sandusky was the top finisher for the NKU mens team placing 12th with a time of 15:45:70. While Kyle Mastin finished 22nd with a time of 15:50:20, Ryan Burrows finished 25th with 15:55:00 and Blake Rigdon finished 59th with 16:27:90 rounding out the top five for the Norse scores.

The men’s team finished fifth place with 125 points with an average time of 16:03.

“Very pleased with the men,” Kruse said. “It was a total team effort today and just a couple points off from being right up there with everybody else.”

The women’s team finished ninth place with 233 points with an average time of 19:42.

Tobler was the top finisher for the women’s team, placing 27th with a time of 18:48:20. Jennah Flairty finished in 37th at 19:10:20, Sydnee Mangette finished 64th at 19:43:50, Kimmy Wolfe finished 80th at 20:14:60 and Savannah Brady crossed the line 90th at 20:31:60 to round up the Norse scores.

“Some emotion was involved today, again very hard and they put themselves in contention,” Kruse said. “All in all, we’ll get stronger from this point on as we go through the season and every week we will improve,there’s no question.”

Up next for the Norse is the John McNichols Invitational at Indiana State on Sept. 15.