July 21, 2019 | 83° F

Rutgers places 7th at Greeno/Dirksen Invitational

Photo by The Daily Targum |

The Rutgers women's cross country team raced at the Greeno/Dirksen Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 15 in Lincoln, Nebraska, where the Scarlet Knights placed seventh overall.

Leading the team for the women’s 6,000 meter was sophomore Olympia Martin, who placed 17th overall and ran a 22:04.8. 

“For me, I think I was fully prepared for this meet. Not just me, but we’ve been working hard since the summer,” Martin said.

Following right behind Martin was junior Emma Bergman with a 33rd-place finish at 22:34.1. 

Close to Martin the entire race, Bergman explained how she felt when racing.

“I felt really happy with my performance. It was definitely a good opening race and confidence booster going forward,” Bergman said.

Right behind Bergman was junior Nadia Saponara in 45th place (22:56.2), junior Lou Mialhe in 49th place (23:02.8) and sophomore Kiera Nealon in 62nd place (23:24.3). 

Keeping up with Nealon were sophomore Kaitlyn Bragen in 63rd place (23:24.4) and junior Stephanie Mauer in 64th place (23:27.7).

“I’m very proud of how we performed today. We stuck together and pushed one another," Martin said. "We had not had the most ideal conditions, and yet we all did well. For the next meet, I hope we all stick together, kick harder and race faster during the last 1,000 meters.”

Head coach James Robinson said this race was more than just competing. For him, he’s grateful for racing on this course early in the season. 

Later in October, the Big Ten Championships will be held in Lincoln, Nebraska on the same course the team just competed on.

“It was the team’s first 6k of the season, so the race today provided us a measuring stick for the rest of the season. The goal was to learn and compete on the course as we’ll return in seven weeks for the Big Ten conference champs,” Robinson said.

After her experience with the course, Martin realized that although it is a tough course to race on — especially during the hill on the last 1,000 meters — it was a great experience for her and her teammates, she said.

The next meet Rutgers will be competing in is the Paul Short Invitational on Sept. 29 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

“The goal for the next meet is to try to work together as a pack and push each other. We are racing at the Paul Short meet where we will see a lot of different teams in our region. If we want to compete with these other teams, we have to work really when it comes to sticking together,” Bergman said.

For updates on the Rutgers women's cross country team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

Cailee Oliver

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