The No. 24 nationally ranked Dons showed off their talent with a dynamite third-place team finish at the Notre Dame Invitational last Friday in South Bend, Ind. USF played its best hand at the hypercompetitive meet, with all of the Dons’ top runners competing together for the first time this season.
Graduate student Bridget Dahlberg finished seventh overall in her first race for USF. She completed the 5,000-meter (3.1 mile) course in 17:13.95. The 22-year-old transfer from Boston College is running at USF for her final year of athletic eligibility.
Dahlberg was followed across the finish line by teammate redshirt senior Eva Krchova, last year’s West Coast Conference individual champion and WCC Player of the Year. Krchova took eighth place with a time of 17:15.67. Coming in third for the Dons was junior Kate Jamboretz at 17:26.67, who took 13th place.
“I am pleased with how well our women competed this afternoon, and we have tons of room for improvement,” Head Coach Helen Lehman-Winters said to USFdons.com. “Bridget was nails up front for us, and Eva moved through the field to snag a top-10 finish. Kate continues to impress and was super tough.”
Sophomore Elena Burkard, senior Maor Tiyouri and redshirt senior Sophie Curl all crossed the line in under 18 minutes to finish in the top-40 in a field of 198 runners. Freshmen Lily Engebrekt and Daryl Phill also raced for the Dons on the hot and humid Indiana day.
Eight teams ranked in the top-30 competed at the prestigious meet, making USF’s third place finish an even more impressive accomplishment. No. 2 ranked Florida State won the race, followed by No. 15 New Mexico. Falling in at fourth place and nearly 100 points behind the Dons was Brigham Young, a team that USF will compete with for the WCC title. Another WCC foe, St. Mary’s, came in at eighth place.
The Dons have a goal to win the WCC Championship meet for the fifth year in a row − the “Drive for Five”. They race for that title on Nov. 2 in Malibu Calif., and if they’ve done well enough at that point, they will earn a trip to the NCAA West Regional on Nov. 15 in Sacramento, Calif. If they are successful there, the Dons will then take on the best in the nation at the NCAA Championship in Terre Haute, Ind. on Nov. 23.
“We beat some very good out-of-region teams and hopefully this will help us get to the NCAA Championships in November,” Lehman-Winters said. “I am confident we can be even better in two weeks and into the month of November.”
In two weeks, the Dons will travel to the Midwest again for the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational in Madison, Wisc. on Oct. 19.