Women’s cross country tie for 2nd, place 5 in top-25 at PAC-12 Preview


By Gus Margiotta

The NAU Women’s Cross Country team travelled back to Flagstaff with their heads held high after finishing with a tie for second place at the 2012 Pac-12 Preview Invitational at Robinson Ranch Golf Course in Santa Clarita, California.

The Lumberjacks were led by their seventh-place finisher, redshirt senior Rochelle Kanuho and sophomore Caroline Hogardh, who finished ninth, with times of 17:51 and 17:58, respectively.

“It was great for her [Rochelle] to get out there. This was her first race this year and for her to be as competitive as she was for her first run, it was a good start for her senior season,” said director of track and field and cross country Eric Heins.

The University of Texas won the meet, hosted by the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA). The women finished behind the nationally ranked Longhorns and tied with the University of California-Davis for the silver medal.

“Half-way through the race I wasn’t feeling too hot, but to get that out of my system right away was good,” Kanuho said. “The first race is always the toughest but it’s definitely going to give me and everyone else more confidence going into Wisconsin.”

Kanuho, referencing the Adidas Wisconsin Invitational (Oct.12), and the rest of her teammates will face some of the top runners in the country when they travel to the Badger State.

Other top finishers at the UCLA Invite were senior Agnes Laurent (13th,18:02), freshman Melanie Townsend (18th, 18:23) and sophomore Lauren Justus rounding out the group with a 25th place finish in a time of 18:35. Sophomore Sarah Baker (36th,19:07) and junior Sarah Raber (43rd, 19:25) also notched finishes that contributed to the final team score.

“I was really excited because our girls had made a huge jump from the George Kyte Invite to where we were yesterday,” Heins said. “They ran a much better team-oriented race. They really executed a better race strategy.”

The Lumberjacks will be back in action on Oct. 6, at Estrella Mountain Regional Park for the Grand Canyon Invitational


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