CLINTON, Miss. – Like the men, the Loyola women’s cross country team debuted several new faces to the fold last night in the Choctaw Season Opener, but it was the veteran leaders who helped deliver the team to a second place finish. Sophomore Vanessa Righeimer and juniors Hannah Dougherty and Jenna Knoblach, all finished within ten seconds from each other, as all three placed in the top 15.
Jenna Knoblach led the Pack for the women with an 11th place finish and a time of 16:41.60. Hannah Dougherty finished in 14th place with a time of 16:50.44, followed ever so closely by teammate Vanessa Righeimer in 15th place with a time of 16:50.84.
Overall, the women ran an average time of 17:09.46, which earned them 93 points and a second place finish. The winning team from West Florida clocked an average time of 16:27.42. The individual winner, Mississippi Valley runner Joyce Chumo, ran a time of 15:58.86.
Head Coach Andy Canegitta gave his thoughts on the women’s performance, “First race of the season and running in 90 degree heat, most of the ladies did well and stuck to the race plan of running a 6:20 pace the first mile and progressively increasing their tempo.”
Loyola had thirteen competitors take the field for the women’s 4K event. Another notable finish goes to freshman Jessica Williams who cracked the top-25 in her debut with a time of 17:39.89.
Both the women and the men will compete again September 10 at Lafreniere Park, for the Four Points by Sheraton Loyola Wolfpack Invitational starting at 8 a.m.
Coach Canegitta’s goal for the Wolfpack Invitational and the rest of the season is a short and simple one, “Our goal is to continue to remain in the top of the standings throughout the season. We finished well as a team, but I believe individually they all felt they could have done better, but it’s early, and we will improve throughout the season.”
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