The men’s cross country team finished atop the standings this weekend in its season opener at the Northwood Invitational as the women’s team finished second.
Sophomore CarLee Stimpfel won the men’s 6,000 meter race of 18:24 as junior, Morgan Fuerst, won the women’s race in a time of 18:17.
First year head coach Eric Phillips was pleased with the performances of both teams.
“It was a fantastic day, and I’m very proud of our efforts,” he said. “We approached the meet today from a workout mentality and kept things controlled.”
Six of the Cardinals top seven runners from the meet are freshman or sophomores.
“Across the board we are young but incredibly talented,” Phillips said. “However, we are relying heavily on the experiences and leadership of our upperclassmen to set the standard for the culture as we continue to take the team forward.”
Stimpfel said he believes the young talent in the Cardinal’s lineup is a good thing.
“It’s super exciting to see the young guys up front and running well,” Stimpfel said. “A lot of people have stepped up and filled the roles our team needed filled.”
On the women’s side, the Cardinals lost in a tiebreaker to Northern Michigan University.
“Stepping up toe to toe with Northern Michigan’s impressive lineup was a testament to the hard work that they’ve put in,” Phillips said.
Although Northern Michigan escaped with a close victory, Phillips is still hopeful for the women’s chances come October.
“A lot can and will change over the course of the season, but I’m excited about the mood of this women’s team.” Phillips said.
Fuerst is also feeling good about the team’s future.
“As a team, many of us got personal bests today,” Fuerst said. “I look forward to getting stronger as an individual and as a team and look forward to the having the chance to make it to nationals as a team.”