Cross Country: Northwestern looks toward outdoor track season with anticipation

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Photo courtesy of MaryKate Schoonover

NU runners toe the line at the Terrier Classic. Northwestern is coming off of a solid indoor track season. At the Terrier Classic, Freshman Ava Earl ran the fifth fastest 3000m in school history.

Kate Walter, Reporter

Northwestern is riding the high of a historic fall into the indoor and outdoor track seasons. During an electric cross country season, the team finished in fourth place at Midwest Regionals, marking its highest finish in 20 years, and senior Rachel McCardell earned All-Big Ten honors, qualifying for the NCAA Championships.

NU has built a solid base during the indoor track season, competing at the Gene Edmonds Classic, the Michigan Invitational, the Terrier Classic and Wisconsin’s St. Valentine’s Invitational. The Cats posted some historic times during this winter. 

At the Terrier Classic, freshman Ava Earl achieved the fifth fastest time in program history in the 3000m with a 9:38 and graduate student Amanda Mosborg ran a 16:51 in the 5000m for the seventh-fastest time in program history. At the St. Valentine’s Invitational this weekend, junior Emily Casaclang ran a 4:55.59 mile, good for seventh-best in program history. 

McCardell, the star of NU’s cross country season, returned to compete at the St. Valentine’s Invitational. She made her indoor season debut in the 3k, posting an impressive personal best of 9:39.2 and finishing first overall. 

As primarily a cross country program, NU views the winter and spring track seasons as opportunities to build confidence and strength. After a solid indoors season, the Cats are poised to be a formidable contender on the outdoor track this spring. This will be Coach Jill Miller’s third outdoors season as head coach and the team’s first normal outdoors season since the pandemic. 

During last year’s modified racing schedule, the Cats still managed to rewrite history. McCardell clinched the number one all-time record for NU in 3000m with a time of 9:33. Kalea Bartolotto’s time of 9:41 was good for the third fastest in program history.

The Cats seek to pick up right where they left off. They return to competition at the end of March with the North Carolina State Raleigh Relays. 

From March to May, NU is slated to compete in six meets, with three of them being relay meets. Most of these competitions are held in the Midwest, while some will take them all the way to sunny California.

For a team on the national rise and filled with a mix of young talent in Earl and established veterans in McCardell and Bartolotto, it’s sure to be a speedy season on the outdoor track. 

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Twitter: @katewalter03

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