Palos Heights, Ill. – Senior Rachael Dean (Lindenhurst, Ill./Judson University/Lakes) finished second overall in a field of 70 runners to lead the No. 25 Saint Xavier University women's cross country team to a second-place team finish at the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) Home Opener at Horsetail Slough Saturday in Palos Heights, Ill. SXU beat out several NCAA Division I teams at the race finishing only behind Loyola University (Ill.) out of the seven teams competing. The Cougars finished ahead of DePaul University (third), University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (fourth), host UIC (fifth), University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (sixth) and Northern Illinois University (seventh) in the team competition. Dean posted a time of 11:34 on the two-mile course.
"Considering the fact that this was our first meet of the season and we ran against a tough field of Division I competitors, I am very pleased with our team's performance," said Saint Xavier University women's cross country coach Lisa Ebel. "We use this course as one of our main practice sites, so my runners are very familiar with it. Our team has a ton of potential and I think we will definitely improve as a squad as the season progresses, but you can't ask for much more from a season-opening meet."
Senior Jackie Ott (Island Lake, Ill./Marian Central Catholic) also finished among the top 10 Saturday with a ninth-place overall finish and a time of 11:44. Junior transfer Ashley Shares (Palos Park, Ill./Moraine Valley CC/Stagg) took 11th place with a 11:48 clocking, while freshman Kayla Droessler (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) was 27th overall at 12:16. Freshman Elise Prieto (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg) wrapped up the team scorers for SXU at No. 36 with a time of 12:46. Sophomores Krista Olenek (Algonquin, Ill./Marian Central Catholic) and Mercedes Mancha (Elgin, Ill./Streamwood) also ran a nice race for the Cougars coming in at 39th and 40th, respectively, with times of 13:00 and 13:02.
Saint Xavier heads to Bourbonnais, Ill., on Friday, September 9, to take part in the Midwest Classic at Aspen Ridge Golf Course. The women's race is scheduled for a 5 p.m. start.