NORMAL, Ill. -- Sophomore Sarah McMahon (Colfax, Wis./Colfax) finished fourth with a career-best 5K time of 17:40 to pace the Bradley women's cross country team to a third-place finish, while sophomore Chase Coffey (Hanna City, Ill./Farmington) clocked a career-best 8K time for the second straight week to help pace the men's squad to a fifth-place finish at the Illinois Intercollegiate Championships Friday.
For the second consecutive year, the Bradley women turned in a pair of top-10 5K times in school history at the Weibring Golf Course, which will serve as site for the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference Championship in late October. McMahon's time of 17:40 was 17 seconds faster than her previous career-best 5K effort and ranks as the third best time in school history. She finished fourth in the field overall, 18 seconds behind third-place Rachael Brewer of Illinois State.
Not to be outdone, junior Cassie Lohmeier (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria) crossed the line in sixth, just two seconds behind McMahon. The pair ran the fastest 5K times for BU since the 2009 season and helped Bradley beat out preseason MVC favorite Illinois State for third in the final team standings. Lohmeier's time ranks as the fourth best 5K time in school history.
Sophomore Emily Delvo (Springfield, Ill./Sacred Heart Griffin) returned to the lineup after missing last week's Bradley Open and ran a solid 18:08 to finish 15th in her first race of the year and was seven seconds off her career-best time. Freshman Liz Smits (McFarland, Wis./McFarland) placed 20th at 18:24, while Lauren Houmes (Hoopeston, Ill./Hoopeston) was three seconds back at 18:27 to finish in 22nd to round out the scoring for the Braves.
"Our women really got after it today," head coach Marc Burns said. "We put ourselves in the race from the gun and competed all the way to the line. We had some huge improvements over last year with many career bests up and down the lineup. It was an amazing effort today and it shows that we are developing from year to year. It was nice to beat Illinois State, but we have six weeks to continue to improve to make sure we can do it again at the MVC meet."
Career-bests were also the story on the men's side, with Coffey clocking a career-best 8K time for the second consecutive week. He finished 16th overall with a time of 25:21, improving on his 8K time from last week's Bradley Open by more than 30 seconds.
Freshman Cole Dill (Tremont, Ill./Tremont) was 18th overall, nine seconds behind Coffey at 25:30 and junior Nathan Davis (Lewistown, Ill./Lewistown) posted a career-best time of 25:36 to finish 20th. Fellow junior Daniel Allen (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield) improved on his career-best 8K time by 31 seconds, crossing at 25:51 to place 24th and sophomore Eric Delvo (Springfield, Ill./Sacred Heart Griffin) was 40 seconds faster than his previous career-best time at 25:53 (26th) to complete the scoring for BU.
"Chase got out in good position today and improved his time over last year by over a minute," Burns added. "We need him to continue to improve and look to be a top-10 finisher at the MVC meet. Nate ran a smart race and moved up nicely throughout the race. Overall we feel we had some good things happen today, but we know we have plenty to work on to improve upon in the coming weeks. This season is all about learning early and showing improvement each time out."
The women's team was third of six NCAA Division I teams in the field with 67 points, finishing six points back of second-place Loyola-Chicago (61 points) and nine points ahead of Valley rival and host Illinois State (76 points). Illinois won the women's title with 33 points.
The men's team placed fifth in the seven-team field with 104 points, seven back of fourth-place finisher Illinois-Chicago (97 points). Eastern Illinois was third on the men's side with 83 points. Loyola-Chicago had four of the top nine finishers and five in the top 12 to claim first. Illinois State was 23 points behind Bradley in sixth at 127.
The Bradley men's and women's cross country teams will have a week off before returning to action Sept. 29 at the Greater Louisville Classic in Louisville, Ky.