GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The Kalamazoo College women's cross country team finished 21st at the Calvin Knight Invite on Saturday.
Lauren Arquette led Kalamazoo with a time of 19:49 to finish 73rd overall in the 5k event.
Rachael Gallap posted Kalamazoo's second best time of 20:36.
Kalamazoo returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 22 at the Raider Invitational hosted by Grand Rapids Community College.
Coach Koster's Comments
"After several of our women struggled with injury and illness over the last part of the summer, we weren't sure what to expect from the five who were ready enough to race this first meet, but they worked together so well and ran intelligent, tough races today. Finishing ahead of St. Mary's and Olivet, and just six points behind Alma, was extremely encouraging at this point in the season."
"Since her first fall at K in 2015, Lauren has never been healthy enough to run a single race in September, so we felt a lot of excitement and a bit of relief watching her lead her teammates around the course today and close down the last mile strongly. I have a feeling she's just going to keep picking up the pace in the next couple months, because every solid effort like today will give her a little more confidence and a little more faith that her racing legs are back under her."
"Rachael didn't really start running seriously until the tail end of high school, and the nine months between the end of last fall and today were the first long period of focused training she's ever done. It showed out there this morning. Rachael must have been pretty wound-up on the start line because she knew she was going to be up with women she's never been fit enough to compete with before, and then to top it off she and Lauren had to hurdle a runner who went down right in front of them in the first minute of the race. She could've easily lost her composure and backed off right then, but she hung with Lauren as long as she could and then gutted out a good last half of the race, which earned her a PR with a time that was 50.9 seconds faster than last year at this meet."
"Maria Bonvicini was the story of the day. She's a senior in school but a rookie on our team, and she never even ran in high school, but this morning she raced like she's been doing it her whole life. She went out under control in the first 2K, then helped pull Rachel Cornell through the middle part of the course, and then just passed dozens of women in the final 2K. Her only 5K on record was a 23:55 on a fast road race course a couple winters ago, and I think we all would've been happy to see her come anywhere close to that time in her first cross-country meet, so we were pretty stunned watching her fly by all those other runners and storm across the line in 22:17. It's going to be a lot of fun to see how much Maria and Rachel improve this season after such a promising opening race."