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Women Place Fourth at Great America

CARY -- With the weather being typical North Carolina humidity and heat, the Cougars finished fourth at the Great American Cross Country Festival, Friday afternoon.

"I can't remember the last time we came in fourth place at a meet," said coach Patrick Shane. "This really was a tough meet."

Despite the heat and humidity, three-time All-American Laura Turner led the Cougars and finished fourth overall among a field of 154 runners.

"Laura ran really well today," Shane said. "She's a season veteran who's a tough runner to beat. She really looked strong out there."

The senior finished the 6K event, with a time of 17:04.55, with an average mile time of 4:34.8. Duke's Shannon Rowbury took the overall title as well as helping guide the Blue Devils to a first place overall victory.

"We got the chance to see how good we are today," said Shane. "I wasn't surprised where we finished as a team. We had a tough three weeks of training and we really didn't let up prior to the race."

Rena Chesser, who placed first overall at the BYU Autumn Classic three weeks ago, came across the line as the second Cougar to finish. The senior placed 12th with a time of 17:35.33. Behind Chesser and finishing 18th overall, was freshman Heidi Magill, who was competing in her first collegiate race.

"Rena and Heidi ran really well today," said Shane. "Heidi got her eyes opened a little bit and saw just how intense college level racing can be."

Despite coming in fourth place, the Cougars felt confident in the way they performed.

"We all feel we ran well as a team, despite where we finished," said Turner. "We pushed through the race and felt we competed hard as a team."

Two of the team's top runners didn't make the trip. Sophomore Amber Harper and junior Suzanna Logan. Shane feels the two should be ready to go in a couple of weeks.

"We definitely didn't run with our entire team here," said Shane. "We need to work on closing up our fourth and fifth spots."

Ever since the team lost their number one runner in Kassi Andersen, Shane says the team is working on identifying who they are.

"With the loss of Kassi, the team is searching and trying to identify themselves," said Shane. "We need to continue on the path of togetherness and toughness. If we do that will be okay."

Sophomore Anne Heiner placed 44th, with a time of 18:21.61. Senior Jami Caldwell finished 46th overall, with a time of 18:22.83 and sophomore Kristy Barrus finished 51st overall, with a time of 18:29.15.

"We have a very good team with the potential to be great," said Shane. "November 22, is the day we are looking forward too.

Great American Cross Countyry Festival - 10/1/2004

Women's 6K Run CC Nike Roc

Rank Team Total

1. Duke University 56 1, 6, 10, 11, 28, 29, 33

2. North Carolina 85 2, 3, 14, 30, 36, 47, 60

3. Georgia 122 8, 17, 24, 34, 39, 75

4. Brigham Young 124 4, 12, 18, 44, 46, 51, 53