Women's Cross Country Finishes Third At Horizon League Championships With Best Team Finish Ever

Jenni Goebel finished fourth at the Horizon League Championship to lead the Flames to a third-place finish
Jenni Goebel finished fourth at the Horizon League Championship to lead the Flames to a third-place finish

Nov. 2, 2002

Chicago, Ill. - History was made at the 2002 Horizon League Championships for the University of Illinois at Chicago women's cross country team, as the Flames finished third, good for the best team finish in school history at the conference meet, as the league squads battled it out at Montrose Harbor on Saturday.

Butler ran away with the women's team title with 31 points, followed by Loyola (59), UIC (99), Youngstown State (121), Wright State (134), UW-Milwaukee (142), Detroit Mercy (167), UW-Green Bay (195) and Cleveland State (245).

The UIC men's team performed valiantly, as the Flames took fifth-place in one of the most competitive fields the league has seen in some time.

No. 19 Butler won the men's title with 23 points, followed by Loyola (39), Youngstown State (81), UW-Milwaukee (123), UIC (136), Wright State (160), Detroit Mercy (182) and UW-Green Bay (239).

"The women ran outstanding today," said head coach Jim Knoedel. "I was excited with the team finish since it was the best we have ever had and we are starting to come around."

The Flames, as they have been all year, were led by junior Jenni Goebel as she followed up last year's fifth-place finish with a fourth-place tally this season in 18:02 to earn All-Horizon League honors for the second-straight year.

Sophomore Lizet Diaz had another impressive race taking 11th-place in 18:34, while fellow sophomore Sara Jeffers was 14th in 18:42.

The Flames needed solid races from their fourth and fifth runners and got them from Jessica Pancoska (32nd, 19:35) and Jessica Streit (50th, 20:12). For Streit, she competed in her final league meet.



"It was nice to see us have three in the top-15 like that," said Knoedel. "We hung int there today and what's great is that we have the top-three back for next year."

On the men's side, fifth-year senior Danny Smith continued his stellar season with an impressive 12th-place finish in a highly competitive field. Smith's time of 25:22 was a personal best by over thirty seconds to lead the Flames.

"That was a great performance from Danny Smith," Knoedel said. "To improve like that all season was great."

The Flames got solid races from seniors Rich Daubert and Joe Marren, as Daubert was 22nd in 25:49, while Marren finished in 26:13, good for 28th-place.

For Smith, Daubert and Marren, it was their final league meet, and the trio has been a huge part of the construction of the men's cross country team at UIC.

In order for the Flames to make noise in the top-three or four, Knoedel knew he would need big races from his fourth and fifth runners, and he got one of them, but due to illness, couldn't go two-for-two.

Junior Tristan Roche came up big, shaving several seconds of his personal best to take 36th in 26:39.

Freshman Bob Dron ran well in his first league meet taking 64th in 27:50, as probable fifth-man Brian Roth struggled as he continued to fight an illness he had battled all week.

"I was a little disappointed with fifth, but if we have everyone healthy we get fourth-place," Knoedel said. "Tristan Roche handled the meet very well and did great."

The Flames have a weekend off before traveling to Bloomington and Illinois State to participate in the NCAA District V Championships.