Big Ten foe dashes past NU at meet

Brandon Kreines

While sophomore Lauren Cousert wasn’t pleased with her 42nd-place finish at Friday’s Bradley Invitational, she said it wasn’t entirely her fault.

“I don’t think I ran very well because my shoe wasn’t tied the entire race!” Cousert said. “I was definitely distracted for the first 3K, but eventually I got over it and ran better.”

Despite Cousert’s mishap, the Northwestern women’s cross country team placed second at the meet in Peoria, Ill. The invitational pitted NU against Big Ten opponent Illinois, as well as Northern Illinois and Bradley.

The race served as a tune-up for the Wildcats, who will face stiff competition at the Big Ten Championship at Iowa at the end of October. Conference foe Illinois dominated NU on Friday with the top four finishers in the race.

NU edged Northern Illinois as Marie Grabinski, Diana Hossfeld and Lesley Meade finished eighth, ninth and 10th.

All of NU’s runners competed, including some who normally don’t get to travel, such as Cousert.

The Evansville, Ind., native has been running cross country since her sophomore year of high school, when a friend convinced her first to join the basketball team, then the track team, then the cross country team.

Cousert said she took an instant liking to running despite an accident early in her career.

“I was following a girl back from a run, and I was kind of tired,” she said. “We started to cross the street, and since she went first I just assumed she had looked both ways.

“Then we got hit by a car. The other girl got a concussion, but I just had some road rash.”

Despite that traumatic experience, Cousert still maintains a good sense of humor about cross country.

“You gotta like it to get up at six-ish and run 10 miles every day, ” Cousert said. “I don’t get a lot of sleep.”

This weekend’s meet was the first 6K race of Cousert’s career. She said it was an invaluable but difficult experience.

“6K is a lot different,” Cousert said. “You’ve got to adjust to the pace. You start to wear out fast.”

Junior Lisa Marx also participated in her first 6K race of the year; she finished 38th.

“I wasn’t upset (with my performance), but I wasn’t happy either,” Marx said. “I’ll just have to push myself harder.

“This definitely felt longer. I like 5Ks better.”

Marx walked on her freshman year, and said she instantly felt like part of the team.

“In high school I liked running because the team had so much camaraderie, and I definitely feel that here, too,” Marx said. “All the girls push me to become a better runner.”