Northern Michigan University Wildcats runners picked to finish 5th in GLIAC

MARQUETTE — With its first meet of the season coming up downstate this weekend, the Northern Michigan University women’s cross country was chosen earlier this week as fifth in the GLIAC preseason coaches poll.

The Wildcats, also opening the season ranked 10th in the NCAA Midwest Region, will run at the Northwood Invitational in Midland at 1:15 p.m. Saturday.

NMU received 81 points in the conference poll as defending champion Grand Valley State was named the favorite again, receiving 121 points and 11 first-place votes, and Michigan Tech picked second with 108 votes and one first-place marker.

Saginaw Valley State was chosen third and Wayne State fourth. After NMU came Ferris State in sixth, Wisconsin-Parkside seventh and Ashland eighth. Davenport in ninth was followed by Northwood, Purdue Northwest and Lake Superior State.

NMU will be led by senior Hanna Torvi, the only returnee to compete in every race last season. She was 22nd at the GLIAC Championships in 22 minutes, 58.6 seconds, 10th at the season-opening Ray Helsing Bulldog Invitational in 20:35.7, and runner-up at the U.P. Championships in 18:58.8.

Another senior, Katelyn Smith, has a chance to shine after opening last year as runner-up at the Bulldog Invite in 19:37.6 before injuries plagued her for most of the rest of the season. She was also 27th at the GLIACs in 23:12.0.

Two more returnees each competed in a half-dozen events last year — junior Ellise Longley and sophomores Katrina Salmen and Anna Kelley. Highlights for them included Salmen clocking 25:06.2 and Kelley 25:12.5 at the GLIACs, while Longley came in at 35:37.2 in the conference run and 24:40.2 in the NCAA regional.

Other returning runners who competed in multiple races in 2018 are senior Paige Du Bois and sophomores Aubrey Friedrich, Hannah Jones and Chrysanthe Patselas.

Other returnees include seniors Megan Bauer and Victoria Harris of Iron River, junior Holly Blowers of Marquette and sophomores Carrie Duerksen and Sydney Ormsbee.

Running for the Wildcats for the first time will be redshirt freshman Katie Cleven, and true freshmen Kimberly Carviou, Meghan Langworthy, Morgan Lyon, Madison Malon, Delaney Pickett, Paige Saiz, Emily Sterling, Molly Thompson and Caroline Vegeberg.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.