MARQUETTE - In the Upper Peninsula, Northern Michigan University is where it's at when it come to women's cross country running.
The Wildcats dominated the Michigan Tech Collegiate Opener at the MTU Trails on Friday, sweeping the top 12 places and 21 of the first 22 spots among affiliated college runners.
Teams needed just their top five runners to come up with a team score, which was a perfect 15 points for NMU with junior Mandy Dye winning on the 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) course in 19 minutes, 23.3 seconds.
Northern Michigan University junior captain Mandy Dye runs to a first-place finish at Michigan Tech on Friday afternoon in the Wildcats first meet of the season. The NMU women won the meet with a perfect score of 15. (Houghton Daily Mining Gazette photo)
She was followed by sophomore Olivia Howard in 19:57.6, freshman Megan Edic in 19:58.6, sophomore Katie Granquist in 20:04.3 and senior Rita Woitas in 20:09.2.
Also in the top 12 was 2012 Marquette Senior High School graduate and NMU freshman Alex Bott, who placed ninth in 20:54.6. Other Northern runners creating the sweep at the top were freshmen Mary Kate Cirelli and Hannah Boyer; sophomores Larissa Halonen, Chelsea Farquhar and Emily Allen; and junior Jordyn Ross.
"We ran great today and it was a lot of fun to watch," Wildcats coach Jenny Ryan said. "Mandy had an incredible and smart race. The team got to run as a group, but Mandy separated herself from the pack."
The only non-NMU runner in the top 22 was Michigan Tech's Megan Smaby, who was 13th in 21:21.3.
The host Huskies were second in team scoring with 58 points, followed by Finlandia with 81. Gogebic Community and Northland colleges also sent runners, but not enough for a team score.
In the men's race, the Michigan Tech men posted a 16, one point shy of a perfect performance as well.