OMAHA, Neb. -- The Creighton cross country teams started the fall campaign this morning at the CU/UNO Classic at Chili Greens. The Bluejay women finished fourth in a field that included Nebraska, South Dakota, Nebraska-Omaha and Iowa Western. Peru State did not receive a team score. The Bluejay men also finished fourth, while competing against Nebraska, South Dakota and Iowa Western. South Dakota took the men's team event and Nebraska finished first on the women's side.
The women's top runner was Freshman Megan Barry. She finished 11th overall with a time of 20:15. Fellow freshman Courtney Sawle finished in 20:28, good for 15th overall. sophomore Meagan Wilderson (22nd, 21:08), junior Izzy Squires (23rd, 21:15) and freshmen Jessica Johnson (28th, 21:55) and Katie Huyck (29th, 22:01) rounded out the top six for CU. Junior Lauren Hintz (30th, 22:03) also completed the 5,000-meter course for the Jays. Nebraska's Ashley Miller finished first, running the course in 19:04.
Third-year head coach Chas Davis loves the fact his freshmen forgot they were freshmen.
"We're so young, we have four freshmen, two sophomores and a junior and to see our freshmen jump up there like they did, it was good they didn't know any better," Davis said. "They didn't over think it, they went in running their race and they moved up the entire race.
"Meagan Wilderson took a little while to get going but came up big today," he continued. "On paper we don't have a lot of experience but it didn't look like that today, I'm really happy on the women's side."
As for the Creighton men, junior Mike Hitt led the way, he finished 10th overall with a time of 28:38. Freshman Drew Prescott was next to cross the line for the Jays. He finished 16th at 29:13. Also finishing for the Jays were sophomore Danny Diaz (25th, 30:07), freshman Quinn Biever (27th, 30:24) junior Tom Shimp (29th, 30:27), and sophomore Joe Hamel (30th, 30:30). South Dakota's Jeffery Mettler took the top spot finishing the 8,000k course in 26:46.
"I saw some great things out of Mike Hitt, he was acting like a natural leader today," Davis said. "He knew where he needed to be and raced well."
Coach Davis also liked the competitiveness he saw in his freshman.
"Drew Prescott looked really tough, it's hard for these men to transition from 5k to 8k," Davis said. "He had a fantastic debut (8,000-meter race) and came up big for us today. He's going to be big for us all season long. Quinn Biever came out aggressive and learned (8,000-meter race) is a long race, I like seeing guys come out aggressive and put themselves in it early."
The teams also scored the meet in a variety of double-dual formats. On the women's side Creighton lost to Nebraska-Omaha (26-29), Nebraska-Lincoln (15-46) and South Dakota (17-44), while the Bluejay men fell in those formats to both Nebraska-Lincoln (18-43) and South Dakota (15-50).
The women's team will return to action on Sept. 10 at the Huskie Open in DeKalb, Ill. The men will rejoin the women at the Woody Greeno/Nebraska Invitational in Lincoln on Sept. 17 at 10:00 a.m.