Lincoln - The Nebraska men’s and women’s cross country teams hosted their only home meet of the season Saturday, the Woody Greeno/Nebraska Invitational at Pioneer’s Park.
Senior co-captain Anne Shadle led the NU women to a third-place team finish in the University division, which was won by team champion Missouri. Another senior co-captain, Eric Rasmussen, helped the Husker men finish fifth in the University division, behind team champion Air Force.
Shadle earned fourth place in her first race of 2004 with a time of 22:08 over the 6,000-meter course. Aiming to use her first race as a stepping stone into the season, Shadle believes she will continue to improve as the year rolls along.
"I didn’t really have a strategy for today," Shadle said. "I just wanted to go out there and relax, have a confidence builder. You always want to do better, know you can do better. But that’s why you have other races, to get better and better every time."
Sophomore Lindsey Finkner was the second Husker to cross the finish line, earning 11th place in a time of 23:04. Freshman Joslyn Dalton made her Husker debut, finishing 16th in a time of 23:29, while sophomore Kim Pancoast improved on last year’s 31st-place finish by taking 20th in 23:42. Junior Michaela Lenihan earned 28th place with a clocking of 24:17, while the trio of freshmen Val Zajac (25:41), Betsy Miler (26:32) and Elizabeth Lange (27:01) finished 36th, 43rd and 47th, respectively, for NU.
"I thought our women ran pretty well as a group," Head Coach Jay Dirksen said. "Anne (Shadle) wasn’t bad for her first race of the season. It will get better for her. With all of the training she’s been doing, in two or three weeks you’ll see her race much better. Joslyn (Dalton) is going to be good, and Lindsey Finkner ran the best race that she’s ever run for us."
In his first competition since the 2002 NCAA Midwest Regional, Rasmussen finished ninth in the men’s 8,000-meter race in a time of 26:17. He was pleased to hit the course again for competition after redshirting the 2003 season.
"I’m not necessarily happy with it, but I guess it’s a good place to start from," Rasmussen said. "It gives me a good indicator of where I’m at. It felt really good to get back out on a cross country course again and compete."
Sophomore Alec Maduza earned the 25th individual placing in a time of 27:23, while sophomore Bryce Dickmeyer followed in 31st place with a time of 27:36. Sophomore Mike Dorazil crossed the finish line in 53rd (28:50), while freshman Kyle Ferry earned 70th (30:52) in his second collegiate race.
Head Coach Jay Dirksen was pleased with the effort of the men’s squad, but believes it still has plenty of work to do.
"They’re making progress. We’ve just got to stay with it, not get down and just get better. There’s a process they will have to go through, and we’ve got to stick to the process to get better."
Nebraska returns to action next Saturday, when it travels to St. Paul, Minn., for the Roy Griak Invitational. Hosted by the University of Minnesota, the meet begins with the men’s 8,000-meter race at 12 p.m., followed by the women’s 6,000-meter race at 1 p.m