Cross Country: Three Wildcats in position for NCAA Prelims qualification

Max Schuman, Reporter

Cross Country

It was a busy and successful Easter weekend in the Bay Area for Northwestern.

The Wildcats’ top runners split up to compete at the Stanford Invitational and San Francisco State Distance Carnival, and a trio of NU runners extended their seasons by qualifying for the West Preliminary Round of the NCAA Championships.

Sophomore stars Andrea Ostenso and Jena Pianin blasted through their personal records in the 10,000m and 5,000m, respectively, at Stanford against their stiffest competition of the outdoor season to date. Ostenso cut more than a minute from her best time to finish in 34:46.88, good for 61st out of 75 entrants in the event, while Pianin sliced more than 30 seconds from her record to take 57th out of 66 entrants with a time of 16:42.76.

With many of the nation’s fastest women’s distance times of the year being run at Stanford, the meet provided an opportunity for the Cats’ sophomore duo to put up fast times and solidify the women’s chance to qualify for the West Prelims at the end of the season. Ostenso’s effort was good for the 32nd-fastest time in the 10,000m in the West region this season, while Pianin’s time was the 37th-best in the 5,000m in the region this year. The top 48 runners in each event in the region will qualify for the regional championship meet.

Another contingent of NU runners competed in the nearby San Francisco State Distance Carnival. Junior Elena Barham stole the show for the Cats at the meet, as her 36:10.99 showing in the 10,000m was good for eighth overall. She had the 42nd-fastest time in the West region this season, and qualified for the regional championships in the event.

Junior Rachel Weathered and freshman Isabel Seidel led the way for NU in the 5,000m at the meet with personal-best times of 17:28.09 and 17:31.11, respectively. Weathered cut roughly 23 seconds from her previous best in the distance, while Seidel made her collegiate debut in the event.

Junior Allison Jacobsen finished the race in 17:48.92, while classmates Renee Wellman and Mallory Abel crossed the line in 17:51.11 and 18:24.68, respectively.

Although three Cats are now in position to qualify for prelims in the first year of NU’s new NCAA sponsorship for track, the standings won’t be set until the end of the season, giving Ostenso, Pianin, Barham and the rest of NU’s squad plenty of time to boost their times and secure one more race in the season.

NU will hit the track again this weekend for the Chicagoland Championships in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.

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