ELSAH, Ill.-- Three UJ runners competed at the 37th annual NAIA Women's Cross Country National Championships at North Farm Cross Country Course Saturday.
Christa Lysne (SR/Devils Lake, N.D.) was the first Jimmie to cross the line in the 344-runner field. Her time of 19 minutes, 37.11 seconds was 209th. Amber Posner (JR/Cushing, Minn.) came in 253rd with a time of 19:55.01, and Allie Foster (SO/Rugby, N.D.) ran 20:01.15 for a 260th place finish.
Aminat Olowora of Oklahoma City was the individual winner, finishing in 16:24.28.
"I'm really happy for Christa," head coach Jim Clark said. "She ran at cross country nationals as a freshman and now as a senior. There were a lot of bumps in the road in between, so I am proud of how she has worked her way to such a good season. She also helped to make Amber and Allie better runners. There can be very good cross country seasons ahead for both Amber and Allie. They made solid strides this year. Now on to track!"
Competing at the national meet for the first time did not cause Foster, a sophomore, to treat it differently than any other race.
"My strategy was just run my race how I always do and try not to get too caught up in the rush of people," Foster said. "The course was a bit more hilly than we are used to, so my time was a little slower than I was hoping for. Overall it was great experience and I'm very grateful to have made it here in the first place!"
Posner, also a first-time national qualifier, was pleased with her results.
"I think my season went very well," Posner said. "I am happy with how I've been competing this year and definitely been able to tell my hard work at practice has paid off in competition. I was very excited to have the chance to compete at nationals and have my teammates push me along the way. Coach Clark is such a great coach and has helped me continue to improve from the start. I'm looking forward to indoor season and hoping for more improvement within these next few months!"
Lysne's second national meet provided her with some perspective on how to approach the race.
"This was my second cross country nationals, so I was able to gauge my experience from that on how to run my race today," Lysne said. "I knew that with around 350 runners you have to get out at the beginning to establish a position. Making it to nationals is such a fun and great experience. It is a time when we get to run against some of the best runners from the nation. I was excited that two other teammates qualified with me. Coach Clark is also one of the best coaches and I wouldn't have made it without him. I've met some of my best friends through cross country and being a senior I'm really going to miss running, but I'm excited for indoor track now!"