‘Sup y’all, I’m back with another edition of “Brownie Points” where I shed some light on the achievers or losers in the sports world. I’ll award Brownie Points to those who have earned it through stellar play and impressive performance. However, I won’t shy away from taking Brownie Points from teams following losing streaks or disappointing performances.
This week, there was a big accomplishment in the Loyola Athletics community that might’ve flown under the radar a bit. Since there’s only one home match, fans don’t always pay enough attention to the cross country teams. But the women’s cross country team deserves everyone’s undivided attention.
The Loyola women’s cross country team absolutely dominated at the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Championships. The Ramblers came in first by a mile.
In cross country, the team score is tallied by the placement of the top five runners from each school. So, first place earns one point, second place earns two points, etc. Because of this, the lowest team school wins the cross country meet.
At the MVC Championships, Loyola earned a team score of 17 after sweeping the top four spots and Loyola’s fifth runner coming in at seventh overall. Second-place Bradley University, the two-time defending champions, finished with a score of 64.
The MVC had never seen dominance quite like this. The 2003 Missouri State University women’s cross country team had the previous lowest team score at 29. The Ramblers were an astonishing 12 points lower than that.
Sophomores Anneka Murrin and Kathleen Sims came in first and fourth place, respectively. Juniors Mimi Reimers and Tarynn Cullings finished in the second and third spots, respectively.
Loyola was expected to be good and competitive coming into the season. The Ramblers came in third place in the MVC preseason poll, right behind Illinois State University. Bradley ran away in the poll, finishing first while earning eight of the 10 first-place votes.
Yet, the Braves’ best individual runner finished ninth — after all five of Loyola’s runners who contributed to the team score. Also, Illinois State finished fourth in the team standings.
Loyola coach Alan Peterson won MVC Women’s Coach of the Year after the Ramblers won their first-ever MVC title.
The Ramblers weren’t underdogs coming into the MVC Championships. But they also weren’t expected to win, especially not in such a dominant fashion. This means a hefty plate of Brownie Points for the Rambler runners. Since it was such a dominant team performance, I’m going to give the team a nice round number of 10 Brownie Points.
But that’s not all for this week. On the men’s side, the cross country team finished fourth in the MVC Championship. There’s nothing exceptionally impressive or disappointing about that finish.
However, Riley Demeulenaere earned the Ramblers’ lone top-10 individual finish. This is somewhat of a pity Brownie Point for the senior runner, but it still counts the same. Demeulenaere deserves recognition despite the middle-of-the-pack finish by Loyola.