CALVIN CRUISES: The Calvin men's cross country team started the season where it left off last year as the defending national champions won the Midwest Invitational at Wisconsin-Parkside on Sept. 17.

Calvin's Tim Finnegan placed first at the Midwest Invitational on Sept. 17. (Calvin)
The third-ranked Knights shared first place with Wayne State University, while Division III foes No. 2 North Central and top-ranked Wisconsin-Lacrosse finished third and fourth, respectively.

Junior Tim Finnegan of Los Alamos, N.M., placed first in the race with a time of 25:06, while junior Harrison Jorritsma took fourth with a time of 25:27.

"We graduated several key runners from last year's (national championship) team but we've had several guys waiting in the wings," said head coach Brian Diemer.

TOP PERFORMANCE: Willamette junior Nick Symmonds garnered Northwest Conference Athlete of the Week honors after placing second at the Sundodger Invitational hosted by the University of Washington on Sept. 17.

Symmonds, a five-time Division III outdoor track & field champion, was the NWC's top runner in the 8K race, finishing in a time of 24:29.

The Bearcats took first place in the Open Division in front of 28 other teams in the race.

BEARING DOWN: The Washington University women's cross country squad finished fifth at the Southern Stampede on Sept. 17 at Missouri Southern University in a field that featured more than 30 Division I, II and III programs.

Junior Beth Herndon led a group of four runners that placed in the top 50 in the 5K race of 291 runners. Herndon finished 15th with a time of 17:56.50 and earned University Athletic Association Athlete of the Week for her efforts.

The Lady Bears posted the best Division III performance at the meet with 183 points.

FIRST TIME: Sophomore Karen Merrill of SUNY Geneseo was named the New York State Collegiate Track Conference Female Runner of the Week after winning the Fredonia Invitational on Sept. 17.

Merrill ran a time of 18:55 for her first career individual title as the Knights placed five runners in the top six. Meghan Nolan, Shannon Griggs and Christiana Martin rounded out the top four.

SUNY Geneseo won the meet with a team score of 16 points.

PEACHY KEENE: Ryan Gough of Keene State College won the UMass-Dartmouth Invitational on Sept. 17 as he led the Owls for a first-place team finish.

Gough, a senior from Billerica, Mass., was selected Little East Conference Runner of the Week after winning the race with a time of 24:57. It was his first collegiate individual championship.

The Owls edged Tufts by two points to win the team championship.

MINTY FRESH: Colby College's women's cross country team placed five runners in the top 15 as the Mules opened the season with a victory at the UMass-Dartmouth Invitational on Sept. 17.

Senior Jess Minty of Concord, Mass., finished first in the 5K race in a field of 264 runners.

Colby recorded 43 points to finish ahead of No. 5 Amherst.