Senior Nicole Watkins guided the No. 21 ranked Cougars to a second place team finish by finishing second overall Friday
Senior Nicole Watkins guided the No. 21 ranked Cougars to a second place team finish by finishing second overall Friday
Women's Cross Country - Fri, Sep. 2, 2016

Channahon, Ill. – Senior Nicole Watkins (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett) took second place overall with an impressive 5K (5,000 meters) time of 18:25.5 to pace the No. 21 ranked Saint Xavier University women's cross country team in its season-opening meet, the University of St. Francis (Ill.) Twilight Invite, Friday evening at Channahon Community Park in Channahon, Ill.  The Cougars took second place overall in the meet finishing a spot higher in the team standings than host and No. 18 ranked USF.  SXU junior Ellie Willging (Freeport, Ill./UIC/Freeport) also finished in the top five individually with a fourth place finish and a time of 18:28.8 to help fuel the big team finish.  

Junior Sierra Downey (Stickney, Ill./Morton College/Morton West) was next across for Saint Xavier claiming 11th place overall with a solid time of 18:44.5.  Freshman Grace Maletich (Woodridge, Ill./Downers Grove North) took 17th place in the field of 97 collegiate runners with a time of 19:14.6, while senior Nicole Maier (Burbank, Ill./Olivet Nazarene/Reavis) rounded out the team scorers in 19th place with a 19:19.4 clocking.  Sophomore Deandra Stokes (South Holland, Ill./Thornton) and senior Courtney Correa (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport Township) also ran well Friday for the Cougars.  Both turned in under-20 minute times with Stokes finishing in 26th place at 19:45.8 and Correa taking 28th place with a time of 19:47.5.

"Everyone raced smart and helped each other during the race and I'm so proud of how well we performed as a team," said Saint Xavier University women's cross country coach Lisa Ebel.  "We had our top five finishers turn in times under 19:20 and our top seven with times under 20 minutes.  This definitely makes me really optimistic about the rest of the season."

Saint Xavier heads to South Bend, Ind., on Friday, September 16, to take part in the National Catholic Championships hosted by University of Notre Dame.  The meet will be held at the ND Golf Course in Notre Dame, Ind.