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Kuik claims fifth, leads Warriors in Viterbo Night Flight

Waldorf Warriors LogoBy Aaron Schneider

LA CROSSE, Wis. – Marissa KuikMarissa Widener and Charley Buddenhagen battled for the Waldorf University women’s cross country team during the 4th Annual Viterbo Night Flight on Friday.

“All three of them ran pretty good given the circumstances,” Waldorf coach Nathan Christianson said. “It’s a good way to start.”

Kuik clocked a three-mile time of 20 minutes, 4.3 seconds to earn fifth place in her first collegiate meet. The freshman from Coon Rapids, Minnesota, aims to contend in meets this season, including the North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) Championships in November.

“I’m definitely excited about that,” Christianson said. “I think she can be a good runner and finish in the top 10 of the conference as she continues to improve throughout the course of the year.”

Widener raced to 19th (22:40.4) as the freshman from Bridgeport, Nebraska, made her collegiate debut. She expects to shave off time in her upcoming performances after working through a foot injury at the beginning of the week.

“We didn’t even have her put on spikes, so she ran a pretty decent time wearing trainers,” Christianson said. “That’s definitely going to cut her time once we get her foot healthy.”

Buddenhagen took 25th (23:45.5) as the final runner for the Warriors, who are fielding a program for the first time since 2014. The junior from New Virginia has shown improvement since she began her collegiate career at Southwestern Community College two years ago.

“Charley ran faster than her last opener a couple years ago, so I think that was a huge step for her,” Christianson said.

“The cool weather definitely helped.”

NCAA Division III’s Bethany Lutheran College brought home first place with 27 points to edge Viterbo University (32). Martin Luther College, another NCAA Division III squad, rounded out the team standings with 66 points.

Waldorf returns to action in next Saturday’s Les Duke Invitational at Grinnell. The 5K meet starts at 10 a.m.  The meet is expected to provide the Warriors with a chance to pursue personal-record times as they continue to progress.

“It’ll be nice to get that 5K to see how much we’ve improved,” Christianson said. “When we get the true 5K race, I think all three girls can come close to their PRs if not PR next week.”