The Daily Northwestern

Cross Country: Wildcats’ 1-2 punch shines in historic race

Sarah+Nicholson+%28left-center%29+and+Aubrey+Roberts+round+a+turn.+The+sophomores+led+the+Wildcats+to+a+fifth+place+finish+at+the+Cowboy+Jamboree.
Sarah Nicholson (left-center) and Aubrey Roberts round a turn. The sophomores led the Wildcats to a fifth place finish at the Cowboy Jamboree.

Sarah Nicholson (left-center) and Aubrey Roberts round a turn. The sophomores led the Wildcats to a fifth place finish at the Cowboy Jamboree.

Source: Northwestern Athletics

Source: Northwestern Athletics

Sarah Nicholson (left-center) and Aubrey Roberts round a turn. The sophomores led the Wildcats to a fifth place finish at the Cowboy Jamboree.

Alison Albelda, Reporter

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Cross Country


Northwestern celebrated the 80th birthday of the Cowboy Jamboree with two top-10 individual finishes in a contest packed with tough competition.

No. 9 Penn State and No. 22 Oklahoma State were among the nine teams the Wildcats took on Saturday in Stillwater, Oklahoma. NU’s top sophomores shined at the meet, with Aubrey Roberts finishing third with a time of 20:47.60, and Sarah Nicholson coming in eighth at 21:08.00.

Nicholson said she was grateful for the opportunity to see where the Cats stood both individually and as a team. She said she used the competition to challenge herself physically and mentally to compete strategically.

“I was really happy with the way that it panned out,” Nicholson said. “I was with a group the whole time and there were plenty of girls to push me. The competition was great.”

NU came in fifth of 10 teams with 120 points.

Entries were unlimited in the invitational, and 10 Cats runners competed in the race. NU’s top six competitors broke 23 minutes, and the team’s first eight finishers all placed in the top 75.

Roberts said last month’s workouts helped prepare the team for the race. She stressed the importance of building on this foundation and focusing on fitness in anticipation of NCAA Pre-Nationals.

“We will keep doing speed work,” Roberts said, “but more (hard workouts) will be done to maintain and fine tune our fitness before the end of the season.”

NU’s performance in Stillwater was good enough to move it to fifth in the NCAA rankings for the Midwest region, three spots behind Big Ten foe Minnesota. It marks the highest ranking for the Cats in four years.

After Roberts and Nicholson, NU’s next three finishers were senior Haley Albers at 22:03.30, freshman Hannah Tobin at 22:20.40 and senior Sara Coffey at 22:38.00.

Coach ‘A Havahla Haynes said her team performed well and that the players’ collective confidence is growing. She added that she wants to bridge the gap between the aforementioned sophomore duo and the rest of the team.

“The group dynamic is great. We just need to get our group of (runners) three to seven a little bit closer to the top two,” Haynes said. “They just have to commit a little bit more when it gets tough.”

Email: alisonalbelda2021@u.northwestern.edu

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