VALPARAISO, Ind. -- The Western Michigan cross country team took third place at the Crusader Open hosted by Valparaiso University on Friday evening.

WMU opened the 2012 season with three finishers in the top 50 but fell just short behind Purdue and Notre Dame. Junior Aisha Hodge was WMU's top finisher, followed by Becca Peacock, Ashley Moyer, Cara Cremeans and Lauren McUmber to round out the top five.

"I don't think our best runners were ready today," said head coach Kelly Lycan. "But some others on the team took great advantage of that. I think we saw Becca and Ashley run their best races as Broncos. I also think Aisha looked like a confident cross country runner today. She put herself in good position and then finished strong and passed several runners in the final 800 meters."

Hodge turned in a 5k time of 19:04.1 to take 15th overall, while Peacock finished 32nd with a time of 19:24.5. Moyer finished 50th overall with a time of 19:39.4, while Cremeans ran at 19:43.9 and McUmber just a few seconds behind at 19:48.9. Peacock nearly took a minute off of her time she recorded last year at the same race, while McUmber, who finished in WMU's top five for the first time in her career, took over two minutes off of her previous Crusader Open best time.

Western Michigan hosts the George Dales 6k Invitational at Pine View Golf Club on Friday, Sept. 9. The 6k race will begin at 5:10 p.m.