Loyola Women Place Fourth at the Missouri Valley Conference Cross Country Championships

The Women of LUXC

Media Contact:

Ally Spiroff

English, B.A., Loyola University Chicago, Class of 2015

Digital Media & Storytelling, M.Comm., Loyola University Chicago, Class of 2017

Loyola Women’s Cross-Country/Track & Field




Women Place Fourth at the Missouri Valley Conference Cross Country Championships

Two Ramblers Earn All-Conference Honors 

Photo credit: Rick Brewis
Photo credit: Rick Brewis

EVANSVILLE, Ind., November 4, 2015 – Loyola University Chicago Women’s Cross Country team battled hard to a fourth place finish in a close race at the Missouri Valley Conference Cross Country Championships this past weekend on Saturday, Oct. 31. The race was hosted by University of Evansville on the UE Cross Country at Angel Mounds State Historic Site, 8215 Pollack Ave. Seniors Sydney Stuenkel and Ericka Laviste led the way for the Ramblers, earning Second-Team All-Conference honors.

The Ramblers ran in a tight pack up in the front from the second the gun went off. Stuenkel was the first Rambler to cross the finish line, placing 12th overall with a season-best time of 17:34. Laviste was just steps behind her, placing 13th overall with a new personal-best time of 17:36. Two other personal-bests were earned for Loyola at the meet. With a hard close during the second half of the race, Lindsey Brewis finished 21st with a personal-best time of 17:49, coming through in a big way at the conference meet for the LUXC women for the second year in a row. Freshman Julia Demko impressed and was next to cross the line for Loyola, finishing 26th with a personal-best time of 17:53. Emma Hatch, who set the pace early on in the race for the Rambler pack, rounded out the scoring, placing 30th with a season-best time of 18:07.

The race was extremely close for the third through fifth place team finishes. A talented Bradley University team captured first place at the meet with a total of 54 points. Wichita State University took second place with a total of 76 points. Illinois State University rounded out the top three with 94 points. The Ramblers almost edged out Illinois State, finishing next with 102 points. Indiana State was close behind with 107 points. The Loyola women were hoping for a top two or three finish, but in a conference as competitive as the Missouri Valley, you have to be all on all the time. Between all of the talented teams in the conference, any one of these teams could have won on any day.

For senior and top finisher for the Ramblers Sydney Stuenkel, it was a very emotional day on the course, as it was her last conference meet suiting up for the maroon and gold.

“I thought the meet went really well,” Stuenkel said. “I felt like everyone battled as hard as they could on this particular day, and I personally felt the spirit out there on the course. It was very impactful on my performance. I don’t think I’ve ever run a more spirited cross country race. We didn’t necessarily get the team result we felt that we earned from our efforts, but I am beyond proud of each and every person on our team, those that raced and those that did not and were there to support us. I was surprised at how much those emotions fueled my performance. I can’t think of a better team to have ran my last cross country conference race with.”

The Missouri Valley Conference, the second oldest collegiate athletic conference in the United States, prides itself on fostering great competitions, and at the 2015 Cross Country Championships it was once again proven to be true. The Rambler women put on an exciting and hard-fought show on a nice fall day out on the cross country course.

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IMG_7600 IMG_7720 IMG_7724 IMG_7706 IMG_7571 MVCXC15 Syd and Ricki

About the Women of LUXC

The Loyola University Chicago Women’s Cross Country team is comprised of 21 talented and fast female athletes that are currently ranked 12th in the Midwest region. As a Division I team, they compete across the nation against all of the best cross country teams. They are a part of the second oldest athletic conference in the U.S., the Missouri Valley Conference. Their races are mostly either five or six kilometers in distance and take place in parks, wooded areas, or on golf courses. Loyola University Chicago is the only NCAA Division I program with the nickname “Ramblers” for its teams. After an injury-plagued season last year, the healthy and stronger-than-ever Ramblers look to build off of their fourth place finish in the Missouri Valley Conference Championships and their tenth place finish in the NCAA Division I Midwest Regional in 2013. The team finds a lot of strength in their tight pack known as “the pelvis,” the women that run in a group together up in the front of races. Race along with the Ramblers on Twitter @TheWomenofLUXC. Be careful: they are fast! 😉


Published by Ally Spiroff

I am Ally Spiroff, and what seems like seven short years ago I created a Twitter account, @runningforlife2. I tweeted how I felt and what I was doing. I tweeted about my greatest passion in life, running. I also tweeted about my other passions, food, music, movies, books, pop culture, writing, traveling, and life. Before I knew it, people (mostly those people in the running community but others too) began to latch onto my life. Then, I realized, “hey, this Twitter thing is pretty cool.” I get to write about what I love. I get to tell my story. The world around me, all of my people, get to ride along with me as I take on the world, one day at a time. People can watch me grow. I can watch other people grow. The Twitter handle has evolved into @allyspiroff over time. With it, the content has also evolved, but the same crazy woman is behind the content. :) So what exactly is my story? Who exactly is Ally Spiroff? I graduated with a Master's in Communication from Loyola University Chicago in May 2017. I was a Division I collegiate athlete there for five years, all four of my undergraduate and one of my graduate years. I graduated with honors in May 2015 with a Bachelor’s in English. In the winter/spring 2015-2016 due to a redshirt season of indoor and outdoor track, I returned to run a fifth year. Since I have always thought that it is more fun to jump over water and other obstacles than just run normal laps around the track and I like a good challenge, I am a steeplechaser by nature. I got to chase fast steeple times for one more season at Loyola, as well as run the 3k, 5k, and even the mile/1500 with my teammates that double as my best friends, sisters, inspirations, and the greatest people you will ever meet. Now, you might ask, how did I still run at Loyola if I graduated in the spring of 2015? I started the cutting-edge graduate program Digital Media & Storytelling in the fall of 2016 at Loyola. It was a two-year program, so I was blessed with another year at the wonderful Jesuit institution to finish up my Master's degree. After obtaining both my undergraduate and graduate degrees, I have become an experienced writer and researcher. Through graduate work, I have become well versed in Adobe Creative Commons software programs, specifically Photoshop and shooting and editing video in Premiere Pro, and in Google Analytics, along with other search engine optimization tools. Through an abundance of internship experience, I became extremely proficient in news editing software programs. I have lots of experience in the newsroom and writing for news producers as well as out in the field on assignment and in working with a variety of people. My experience as an undergraduate and a graduate student while simultaneously being a Division I collegiate athlete on Loyola’s cross country and track teams as well as in a variety of jobs/internships and volunteer work has helped develop my confidence, drive, responsibility, time management, sense of teamwork, people skills, communication, troubleshooting skills, attention to detail, critical thinking skills, leadership, planning skills, and even a sense of humor. I also have extensive experience with all outlets of social media. As I mentioned before, I am an avid tweeter and Instagram user, with 1,450+ followers on Twitter. I have lots of experience with creating and building content for websites. I also run the website I created for my graduate school capstone project, titled "Wise Old Women." I am on Pinterest, Foursquare/Swarm, and Facebook as well. I wrote in the arts and entertainment section of my university’s award-winning newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. You can find my running profile on the Loyola Ramblers website. You can find all about my collegiate running career on TFRRS. Of course, you can also catch me on LinkedIn. I am lucky because I get to tell people’s stories for a living online, through digital media and other means. Currently, I live in New York City and I'm the Digital Editorial Assistant at Runner's World magazine, and I'm a freelance writer for VICE's health vertical, Tonic. I really love life. I have big dreams. I do not know where my dreams will take me, but I am confident that they will take me far. I am an open book. I like sharing myself with anybody who wants to listen. I am enjoying the opportunity to further my education every day and perfect my craft. I love learning something new every single day about myself, others, and the world around me. Besides being a multimedia journalist and a city dweller, I am a literature (Hemingway and Plath are my favorites) and grammar nerd, a hippie, a music fanatic, a foodie, a concert-goer, a traveler, a huge sports fan, a fashionista, an art lover, and an urban explorer who likes natural adventures (like hiking up mountains in Alaska) as well. Wherever I go and whatever I do, I conquer it. I was born and raised in Milwaukee, though, and no matter where I go, I never forget my roots. Milwaukee will always be my city and where my heart truly lies. I have quite the eye for unique knick-knacks. My spirit animals are the grasshopper and the gazelle. When I take the Essential Enneagram Test, I am #3. I am a hard worker with relentless energy. I am everyone’s sister. I am nutty but in a way that I like it. I think that God is so good and we are blessed to get to walk this earth every day. I believe that every person has the right to be exactly who they are. I am dreaming big, with my head in the clouds, but there is still some common sense in there somewhere. ;) Turning over a new leaf in my life, at the start of grad school, I wanted to create a comprehensive website where I could connect you to all of my social media outlets. I will continue to share my running experiences and life journey through this awesome outlet we now have called the World Wide Web, and I hope that everyone continues to enjoy all things Ally Spiroff. Peace, love, and running (fast), Ally Spiroff

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