GRINNELL, IOWA -- A great 14th place finish from sophomore Marissa Kuik helped lead the Waldorf University women's cross country team to a 10th place finish at the 56th Les Duke Cross Country Invite.
The invite was a six-kilometer race, which is the first time that Waldorf has participated in a 6K this season. Kuik recorded a final time of 23:20, which is three minutes better than her original 6K record time of 26:59.4; the Coon Rapids, Minn. native set the previous record on Sept. 10, 2016 at the Roy Griak Invitational.
"Kuik went out and attacked right away with the top group," first-year head coach Kayla Kregel said after the race.
Kuik wasn't the only Warriors runner who broke her own record on Saturday. Fellow sophomore Marissa Widener broke her own 6K record at the Les Duke Invite. The Bridgeport, Neb. native posted a 29:28.9 final time at the Roy Griak Invitational on Sept. 24, 2016. She did much better during Saturday's race, as she passed the finish line with a posted time of 26:42.
Senior Charley Buddenhagen joined the "record-breaking party" by elapsing her own mark that she set at the Roy Griak Invitational on Sept. 24, 2016. Buddenhagen's posted time from last year was 33:48.5, and she would pass that by two minutes with a final recorded of 31:50 in Grinnell.
All six of the Warriors runners finished in the Top 75 for individual placements at the meet. Widener finished in 55th place, junior Bailey Matthaidess finished in 57th, Buddenhagen finished in 71st, junior Katelynn Ramirez finished in 74th, and freshman Clara Roderick finished right behind Ramirez in 75th place.
Kregel emphasizes that in addition to keeping her players in shape and testing in physically during practice, she also teachers her runners to be mentally tough during the season.
"Our focus of the week was mental toughness and that was seen with Widener and Matthaidess's race today," said Kregel. "Both of them fought through the pain of running on a tough hilly course."
Kregel also had positive things to say about the performances from Matthaidess, Ramirez, and Roderick.
"Bailey, Katelynn, and Clara are continuously fighting forward to compete in an uncomfortable zone, which is where we want to be," said Kregel.
The Warriors get next week off before competing in the Roy Griak Invitational on Sept. 23 in Falcon Heights, Minn. Kregel is excited to see how well that her team can improve from now until the 23rd.
"I'm excited to see the improvements we can make as we approach a big 6K race in two weeks at the Roy Griak," said Kregel.