Sophomore Emily Gilligan, the top female cross country runner for the Bluejays this season, never ran a XC meet in her life until this season. After seeing her times and places this season, no one would believe that for a second.
Gilligan came as a sprinter for the track team, but that changed when head coach Jordan Bartolazzi noticed her voluntarily running with the team last fall.
“Emily was setting the pace for our long runs, and she wasn’t even on the team,” said Coach Bartolazzi. “Now, she is 10 seconds away from being with the top 10 runners in Elmhurst College history.”
Gilligan placed 2nd at the Earlybird Invite, which was her first XC meet ever. She then went on to place 6th at the Aurora Invite, 9th at the Augustana Invite, and 6th at the Minnesota Invite. At each of these invites, she was the top finisher for the women’s XC team.
Not to mention she was named CCIW Athlete of the Week for women’s cross country after running in the second XC meet of her career.
“I didn’t run my freshman year because I had never planned on running cross country, but I couldn’t be happier with how everything unfolded last year when I realized that I liked long distance,” Gilligan explained.
Gilligan’s PR is a 22:46 for a 6k, and that puts her in the running to be CCIW All Conference this season.