Marquette Wire

Women make it four in a row

tom.blair@marquette.edu

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After two days of playing the waiting game, Marquette’s women’s cross country team finally found out that it had qualified for this year’s NCAA Division I National Championship meet.

“I’m obviously very pleased,” head coach Dave Uhrich said, after getting the phone call from the NCAA confirming his team’s at-large bid. “This is something that the girls have worked really hard for, and they’ve definitely earned it.”

The women finished fifth at the Great Lakes Regional Qualifying meet at Terre Haute, Ind., this weekend. Since only the top two teams from each region automatically qualify for the championships, Marquette was put on the bubble and had to wait until Monday to know whether they’d receive an at-large bid to this weekend’s meet.

Uhrich did not enjoy waiting, especially the last two hours before the qualifiers were announced. The announcement was supposed to be made by 5 p.m. Monday, but the call did not come until approximately 6:45.

“It was horrible,” he said. “The whole team was just sitting in my office, just waiting.”

Finally, after some of the team had left to eat dinner, the call came, and with it relief.

“It was very, very frustrating to wait,” Uhrich said. “But the fact that we got in takes away a lot of the frustration. But I’m certainly disappointed in the NCAA that they were almost two hours late. That really made us anxious.

“It’s just, the longer you wait for something like that, the more excited you get when you find out it happens. There’s just this tension building up. It’s over 48 hours of waiting and then the last two hours was the worst.”

Before they could wait, however, the team had to perform on Saturday. Sophomore Jodi Jakubek again was the Golden Eagle’s top finisher, coming in at 11th overall with a time of 21:09.

“I definitely felt really good,” Jakubek said. “I had so much energy at the end of the race.”

“Jodi’s just had a great season and really learned what it takes to run at this level, and has been running with some of the top runners in the country, week-in and week-out,” Uhrich said.

Senior Brianna Dahm finished second for Marquette and 17th overall with a time of 21:20.04, sophomore Heidi Lindeman finished third for the team and 21st overall with a time of 21:27.8, senior Audrey Schiltz finished fourth for the team and 53rd overall with a time of 22.16.3 and sophomore Michaela Courtney rounded out the top five with an overall finish of 57 and a time of 22:20.8.

Marquette’s top three — Jakubek, Dahm and Lindeman — were all named to the All-Region team for the Great Lakes Region. All-Region honors are bestowed on the top 25 finishers in the meet.

“I was real pleased,” Uhrich said. “For (Jakubek, Dahm and Lindeman) to be all in the top 21, that was outstanding. I knew we needed that if we were going to have a chance to get to nationals. Those three needed to be up in the front.”

Uhrich also appreciated the efforts of the fourth and fifth finishers, Schiltz and Courtney.

“That’s why cross country is a team sport,” Uhrich said. “We knew those top three were going to be up there towards the front, but without our fourth and fifth coming through, we weren’t going to win.”

The women will now travel to Northern Iowa for the National Championships, their fourth straight trip to the event.

On the other side of things, the men’s cross country team finished 12th in a field of 32 teams. Although the men did not receive an at-large bid to nationals, ending their season, Uhrich was happy with the results.

“I think the danger was, after such an emotional high after winning the conference meet, that they could’ve had a little bit of a letdown this meet, and they didn’t at all,” Uhrich said. “They ran a very good race.”

Uhrich felt that a 12th place finish was very good, given the quality of the teams that finished in front of Marquette. Seven of the 10 teams that finished ahead of the Golden Eagles had been nationally ranked before the meet.

“Our region is, on the men’s side, by far the toughest in the country,” Uhrich said. “Each year our goal is to get in the top 10, but getting close to that is still something we’re very happy with.”

Sophomore Brent Des Roches was Marquette’s top runner, finishing 64th overall with a time of 32:03.1.

“I did as well as I could’ve for the weekend,” Des Roches said. “As a team however, I think we did very well. I don’t really have anything we could really complain about from this weekend.”

Uhrich was especially impressed with the showings of senior Bo Erickson, who finished fourth for the team and 75th overall with a time of 32:24.1, and junior Jake Remitz, who finished third for the team and 74th overall with a time of 32:23.9. Erickson had suffered from food poisoning before the Conference USA championship meet two weeks ago, and the off-campus house that he and Remitz share burned in a fire the week before this meet.

“I was very, very proud of those two guys, to have what went on this week with the fire and staying at different places and moving and eating in the dorms, that was a lot going on for them to still come back and both run as well as they did,” Uhrich said. “I was proud of them for that.”

Freshman Jeremy Williams, who finished second for the team and 70th overall with a time of 32:11.7, and sophomore Dave Henderson, who finished fifth for the team and 87th overall with a time of 32:38.2, rounded out Marquette’s scorers.

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