Blaine, Minn. / Blaine
The St. Olaf women's cross country team delivered its top highlight of the young season Saturday in front of its home fans when it ran to victory at the St. Olaf Invitational. The Oles - led by sophomore Jorden Johnson(Blaine, Minn.) - finished first in the 24-team field, beating a pair of Division II schools and six teams ranked in either the national or regional rankings. Johnson's third-place finish led her team to victory, and resulted in her selection as the MIAC Women's Cross Country Athlete-of-the-Week.
Johnson's top-three time was 22:13.5 as she paced five Ole runners to all finish in the top 18. St. Olaf's winning score was 55, which was nearly 40 points better than Division II runner-up MSU-Mankato (92) and third-place Carleton (94). Individually, Johnson's time was better than everyone in the 381-runner field except two, as she was just 15.7 seconds behind first-place Linda Keller from Minnesota-Morris.
The Oles and Johnson hope to continue their winning ways with a pair of races on the schedule next weekend. After a week off, the Oles are scheduled to run at Gail Woods Invitational in Minnetrista, Minn., on Sept. 28, with the University of Minnesota's Roy Griak Invitational scheduled for the following day. After that, the Oles have four October races on the schedule to tune up for the 2012 MIAC Cross Country Championships, which will take place Saturday, Oct. 27, at Como Park Golf Course in St. Paul, Minn.