Pennsauken grad Amanda Bakley takes 3rd in Mel Brodt Invite in her first XC race ever!!!

Toledo sophomore Amanda Bakley placed third in the Mel Brodt Invitational Friday with a time of 18:17 over 5,000 meters on a cold, windy day in Bowling Green, Ohio.

What makes this performance even more notable is that it was the first cross country race of her life.

Bakley, who ran 5:11 and 10:59 at Pennsauken and was also an All-America steeplechaser, never ran cross country in high school but at least based on her first race seems to have found a home running the trails.

Bakley ran as fast as 10:59 as a Pennsauken junior when she placed second in the 3,200 at the South Jersey Group 3 sectionals behind Devon Grisbaum of Ocean City. Bakley went on to place eighth at states and 15th in the Meet of Champions as a wild card entry.

Bakley, who played soccer in high school and also was an avid ice hockey player, red-shirted her entire freshman year at Toledo.

The Mel Brodt Invitational was really just a dual meet between Toledo and Bowling Green, and Toledo swept the top three places, with teammates Olivia Chinn (18:06) and Stephanie Barlow (18:08) preceding Bakley across the line.

Bakley will be back in action next Friday when Toledo races at the Illinois State Country Financial Invitational in Normal, Ill.

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