University of Mary Cross Country Team at podium for 2018 Central Region Championship trophy presentation.

JOPLIN, MO – The third straight NCAA Central region title for the 4th ranked University of Mary women’s cross country team was the most impressive yet. Led by a 1-2 finish by Jaiden Schuette and Emily Roberts with Ida Narbuvoll close behind, the Marauders posted a team score less than half of the regional runner-up to send UMary to the NCAA championships for a fourth straight season.

With five runners in the top 14, the Marauders posted a team score of 29. Fellow Northern Sun member Augustana, ranked 8th in the country, was second with 64 points. Pittsburgh State and Oklahoma Baptist tied with 122 points but PSU claimed third due to tiebreaking criteria. Southwest Baptist paced fifth with 176 points. Overall 35 teams and 237 runners competed at the 2018 Central region championship.

Jaiden Schuette crosses finish line as 2018 Central Region Cross Country Champion.
Photo courtesy of Michael Gullett, Pittsburg State University

“We didn’t run particularly well today but did compete through our struggles to accomplish a team goal,” said Marauders head coach Dennis Newell. “I was proud of these women for fighting a good fight today. I need to do a better job of preparing this group for the NCAA championship in two weeks.

“I was most proud of this group for accomplishing the goal together through the ups and downs today. We learned valuable lessons about ourselves today that we can use two weeks from now.”

Emily Roberts Finishes in 2nd Place at 2018 Central Region Cross Country Championship.
Photo courtesy of Michael Gullett, Pittsburg State University

Schuette’s impressive season continued with her fourth victory in five races. Fresh off winning the Northern Sun title two weeks ago, the senior from Bismarck, ND, completed the 6,000 meter Tom Rutledge Cross Country Course on the Missouri Southern State University campus in 20:52.46. The only time she hasn’t been victorious was a runner-up finish at the prestigious Roy Griak Invitational. The All-American finished seventh at regions a year ago before helping the Marauders to a runner-up finish at the 2017 NCAA championships.

University of Mary Women’s Cross Country Team “tastes gold” as 2018 Central Region Champions.

This is the fourth straight individual title for a Marauders runner. 2015 national champion Alexis Zeis won the past three titles before Schuette’s victory this season. Schuette’s winning effort is the fourth straight region individual title for the Marauders program, following three straight from former national champion Alexis Zeis.

Right behind Schuette was Roberts. The NSIC Newcomer of the Year ran the course in 20:55.76 to place second, just 3.3 seconds off the winning pace. The senior has continued to improve each race this season, surpassing his third place effort at the conference championship. Roberts finished fifth at the 2015 and 2016 NCAA national championships.

Jaiden Schuette at podium wins 2018 Central Region Cross Country Championships.

After not competing last year due to injury, Narbuvoll finished fourth with a clocking of 21:23.85. It matched her finish at the 2016 Central region championships that led into placing 12th at the NCAA championships.

Showing improved health as the season continues, All-American Kate Fox finished the race on a time of 21:31.94 to place eight overall. Rounding out the scoring was Bree Erickson, who placed 14th overall with a time of 21:43.17. The junior improved five slots over last year.

Two other Marauders joined Schuette, Roberts, Narbuvoll, Fox and Erickson in earning All-Region honors. Lacey Feist-Young finished 22nd in 22:02.92 while Taylor Hestekin ran a 22:03.58 to claim 23rd.

Jaiden Schuette (right) and Emily Roberts (left) finish 1-2 at 2018 Central Region Championships.

The Marauders, undefeated in five meets this season, will compete at the NCAA championships in Pittsburgh, PA, on December 1.