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Women's Cross Country - Fri, Sep. 2, 2016

The St. Ambrose women's cross country team could be a very special group this year.

The Bees opened the season by breaking the school record for team time while finishing 3rd at Western Illinois University's Early Bird Invite at Spring Lake Park on Friday.

SAU ran 78:01 (15:36 average) to break the previous record of 78:18 set two years ago by a team that finished 23rd at NAIA XC Nationals.

Karyn Paisley led the way, finishing in seventh place with a personal best time of 15:20. Behind her were a swarm of Bees. SAU 7 of the next 9 runners, as the split between the first and fifth Bee was just 29 seconds.

Keeley Knobloch was the second Bee across the line in 15:35 with Nicole Woodall just a second behind. Only three seconds behind Woodall was freshman Jenny Dickes and ten seconds behind Dickes was sophomore Chloe Gunn.

Rounding out the scoring for SAU were Abby Hammer (16:02) and Katie Nelson (16:05). It was Hammer's first top 7 finish as a Bee. 

Junior Ashlyn Rulis also ran a personal best for 4,000m as the Bees had 10 runners in the top 22. Freshman Sarah Adams finished 19th, while Mallory Rettenmeier was just a second behind Rulis for 22nd.

"It's definitely a promising sign to start off as solid as we did," SAU head coach Dan Zeimet said. "We had some very good performances from some underclassmen, and our upperclassmen did a great job of leading the way.

"There are always things to learn from and this is just a building block to hopefully bigger and better things."

At the end of the day the Bees had four women enter the top 10 for SAU at the 4km distance. Paisley is now ranked second, while Knobloch is 7th, Woodall 8th and Dickes 9th.

The Bees race just once more in the month of September, returning to the University of Notre Dame's National Catholic Championship on September 16.