Women’s Cross Country Makes Loyola History at NCAA Midwest Regional

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’s Cross Country Makes Loyola History at NCAA Midwest Regional

The team closes out the season with a ninth place finish


Photo Credit: Rick Brewis


LAWRENCE, Kan., November 29, 2015 – The Loyola University Chicago women’s cross country team made history on Friday, Nov. 13, when they took ninth place at the NCAA Midwest Regional meet to close out the 2015 cross country season. Scoring a total of 292 points, the women captured the highest finish in Rambler history since the meet was established in 2005.


The Ramblers came into the meet ranked 12th in Midwest, and they ended up closing the gap and finishing ahead of three higher ranked teams, including University of Missouri, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Illinois State University. Finishing in front of Illinois State University is especially significant, as the Redbirds took third place at the Missouri Valley Conference Cross Country Championships two weeks prior, finishing right in front of fourth place Loyola. Also noteworthy, the women finished just behind Wichita State University (eighth place with 284 points) and within striking distance of Bradley University (sixth place with 263 points), who are also conference rivals and took second and first place at the Missouri Valley Conference meet this year.


“Our team goal was to get the pack – our top five – to race and finish together,” said Lindsey Brewis, Loyola’s top finisher at the race. “Throughout the season, we got closer and closer to doing this, but everything culminated successfully at regionals. Going in ranked 12th, we were so pleased to have placed ninth. Beating some BIG 10 teams and teams that placed above us at Conference was a huge confidence boost.”


Overcoming an injury-ridden start to the season, Brewis had her best performance on the cross country course yet and clocked a personal-best time of 21:25 over six-kilometers to place 42nd overall. Next to cross the finish line was Ericka Laviste, who scored points for Loyola in every meet she has run in, placing 51st with a time of 21:31 and wrapping up a fantastic senior season. The next three Loyola finishers rounding out the score for the Ramblers also scored consistently throughout the season. These women – Julia Demko (56th place in 21:33), Emma Hatch (69th place in 21:45), and Hannah Magnuson (78th place in 21:52) – all wrapped up stellar seasons as well, really utilizing their ability to run with each other in a pack and pass people together. Also running strong for the Ramblers were Sydney Stuenkel (134th place in 22:34) and Sophie Meads (184th in 23:22).


The NCAA Midwest Regional concluded the cross country season for the Ramblers. Here is a meet-by-meet recap of the season:


Badger Season Opener @ University of Wisconsin-Madison– 2nd / 6

Teams: Wisconsin-Madison, Loyola, Northwestern, Marquette, DePaul, Wisconsin-Platteville,


Illinois State Invitational @ Illinois State University – 1st / 9

Teams: Loyola, Illinois State, Illinois-Champaign, Northern Illinois, Iowa, Eastern Illinois, DePaul, Illinois-Chicago, Southern Illinois-Edwardsville


National Catholic Championships @ University of Notre Dame– 3rd / 12

Teams: Notre Dame, Xavier (Ohio), Loyola, Saint Louis, Duquesne, Marquette, Holy Cross, Canisius, DePaul, Saint Francis, Detroit, Niagara


Greater Louisville Classic @ University of Louisville – 15th / 30

Teams: Michigan, Iowa State, Penn State, Minnesota, Lipscomb, Mississippi, Wisconsin-Madison, Ohio State, Hillsdale, Eastern Kentucky, Louisville, Grand Valley State, Bucknell, Richmond, Loyola, Elon, Belmont, Iona, Toledo, Southern Indiana, South Alabama, Western Kentucky, Toronto, La Salle, Edinboro, Bellarmine, Indianapolis, Hope, Western Ontario, Morehead State


Bradley Classic @ Bradley University – 3rd / 30

Teams: Illinois State, Oakland, Loyola, Kansas State, Saint Louis, Marquette, Iowa, South Dakota, Drake, Creighton, Oregon State, Indiana-Purdue-Indianapolis, Northern Illinois, Eastern Illinois, Dayton, Southeast Missouri State, Nebraska, Illinois-Chicago, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Northern Iowa, Bradley, DePaul, Missouri, Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, Wright State, Wisconsin-Green Bay, Nebraska-Omaha, Valparaiso, Western Illinois, Chicago State


Illini Open @ University of Illinois-Champaign – 6th / 8

Teams: Bradley, Northwestern, Illinois-Champaign, Purdue, Eastern Illinois, Loyola, Illinois State, Butler


Missouri Valley Conference Championship @ University of Evansville– 4th / 10

Teams: Bradley, Wichita State, Illinois State, Loyola, Indiana State, Drake, Northern Iowa, Missouri State, Southern Illinois, Evansville


NCAA Division I Midwest Regional @ University of Kansas– 9th / 32

Teams: Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Minnesota, Tulsa, Kansas, Bradley, Oklahoma, Wichita State, Loyola, Illinois, Illinois State, Missouri, North Dakota State, South Dakota, Creighton, Kansas State, South Dakota State, Drake, Iowa, Saint Louis, Eastern Illinois, Nebraska, Northwestern, Northern Illinois Southeast Missouri State, Missouri-Kansas City, Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, Northern Iowa, DePaul, Missouri State, North Dakota, Nebraska-Omaha


“Our season was fun; fun to see so much growth and emerging leadership on our team,” Brewis said.


The team graduates three seniors in the top seven runners (Laviste, Magnuson, and Stuenkel), but the other four are returning for the 2016 season and will be looking to build on their success this season.


The cross country season may be over, but the running Ramblers are not even close to being done yet. Catch the Ramblers on the track! There is one early season indoor track meet on Friday, Dec. 4 at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich. before the winter break. Then, the Ramblers will start up the indoor season again after the break in mid-January. Stay tuned and follow along @TheWomenofLUXC for all the track updates!



Download this release here.


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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