Conger becomes fifth runner to finish first for the women’s team this season

Brad Frank and Brad Frank

BG’s women’s cross country team has had a different runner finish first in all five of its meets this season.

This weekend, it was Heather Conger’s turn as she finished in third place overall with a time of 22:15, leading BG to victory at the 6k Falcon Invite Saturday. Conger’s time was the third-fastest in school history at home and 14th-fastest all-time in any 6K meet for a Falcon runner.

Last month, the junior was held out of BG’s first home meet this season due to illness, and is just now returning to full strength in time for the Mid-American Conference Championships in two weeks.

Five other Falcons placed in the top 20, as BG scored the team victory in its second and final home meet of the season. The first six Falcons to finish all ran within 40 seconds of each other.

The five other Falcons inside the top 20 were Carly Wells, Sally Kandie, Barbara Powers, Abby Koch and Andrea Pereira de Almeida.

BG won by a narrow margin of six points over Kent State, a late entry into Saturday’s field as a result of a cancellation Friday at Penn State because of snow.

Among other MAC teams to compete, Buffalo placed fifth and Eastern Michigan, which split its squad between two different meets Saturday, finished 10th.

In a tough field, coach Cami Wells was happy with the effort the women showed to come out with a win.

‘It was certainly a battle all the way throughout the meet, and we got off to a good start,’ she said.

Entering the race Wells wanted to see some aggression from the team in the final third of the race. She said that was the area the team needed to focus on in order to have a good race Saturday.

The team was in good position after both the first and second miles and was able to fight off Kent State for the win in the final third of the race.

‘We had to work hard that third mile and on to maintain the lead over Kent State,’ Wells said.

The win slings the team into the MAC Championships with momentum.

‘They have to continue to work together to continue the momentum going into the conference meet, ready once again to give our best effort and stay focused on really working hard the whole race,’ Wells said.

‘Now is really the time when we have to be on top of our game. It only gets tougher now in terms of the competition and the importance of the meet.’

Last year BG was disappointed with a fifth-place finish at the MAC Championships. The goal all along this season has been improving on that finish. Wells believes a top-three finish is well within reach.

‘On that day, we certainly have the potential to put ourselves in position to place higher than last year,’ Wells said. ‘[A top-three finish] is certainly not out of reach for us.’

The MAC Championships are Oct. 31 at Ohio University.

Times from the Falcon Invite:

*Heather Conger 22:15 *Carly Wells 22:31 *Sally Kandie 22:44 *Barbara Powers 22:47 *Abby Koch 22:51 *Andrea Pereira De Almeida 22:55 *Autumn Dettmann 23:35 *Megan Kelsey 23:51 *Ashley Fischer 24:08 *Taylor Stichter 24:26 *Courtney Krummert 25:02