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Things are con­tinuing to look up for the women’s cross-country team as the Chargers retained their No. 1 ranking in this week’s NCAA Division II National Coaches’ poll. The team had another solid per­for­mance at the Greater Louisville Classic, bat­tling through sickness to place ninth in the gold race and first among Division II teams.
Senior Emily Oren led the women with a com­manding per­for­mance placing fifth in the 5K race, while senior Kristina Galat came in 21st. Oren was named the USTFCCCA National Runner of the Week for her efforts.
“Kristina and Emily ran really, really well up front in a race loaded with All-Amer­icans as well as  NCAA and USA Cham­pi­onship qual­i­fiers,” head dis­tance coach Joe Lynn said.
Galat was happy with her race in which she set a per­sonal record and placed well, but she knows that she has more to offer.
Lynn also said he was pleased with the per­for­mances of the ladies com­pleting his top five. He high­lighted sophomore Hannah McIntyre and freshman Allysen Eads for having big per­for­mances.
While the Chargers’ top-five runners had strong races, a number of women had to fight through sickness and colds. Lynn called the race a “mixed bag,” but didn’t make any excuses for the girls who were sick.
“Given the cir­cum­stances of any given race, we need to be ready to go,” Lynn said. “There’s no do-overs. We need to be ready men­tally and phys­i­cally to handle whatever is thrown our way because chances are, not every­thing will be perfect in each of our last three races.”
After over­coming numerous chal­lenges at the meet, the women still managed to shrink the gap between their No. 1 and No. 7 fin­ishers by over 10 seconds.
“Overall, I think everyone raced really tough, and things aren’t going to be like that at the end of the season,” Galat said referring to the team’s ill­nesses.
The men also made strides at the meet with junior Joe Newcomb grabbing 12th place in the 8K race and sophomore Tony Wondaal fin­ishing in 26th. The men’s team placed third overall in the blue race.
Junior Luke Daigneault had his best race of the season going from last on the team at the Spartan Invi­ta­tional to fourth on the team at Louisville.
“Our strength and aggres­siveness across the board was much improved from Spartan Invite,” Lynn said.
He also called the race a “mental break­through” for Newcomb and Wondaal. Newcomb ran his per­sonal best 8K time while Wondaal was just off his best.
Newcomb was happy with the strides he made at the meet.
Lynn said that the whole team has been “getting better each day and each race.”
Newcomb noticed his team­mates’ progress as well.
“Overall as a team it was 10 times better than Spartan,” he said.
The men’s team cut the gap between their No. 1 and No. 7 fin­ishers by over 20 seconds from the Spartan invite.
Freshman Miles Garn, who improved his 8K time by over a minute from his race at the Spartan, was happy with how he has been adjusting to the longer racing dis­tance.
“I think I can work on getting out quick in the beginning of the race,” he said. “For the most part I just felt more pre­pared.”
This Friday the teams will run their final meets of the regular season at Hayden Park starting at 4 p.m.