Two national qualifiers from a year ago headline a deep and talented women’s cross country squad that is gearing up for the 2003 season. Two-time all-conference selection Nichole Petersen and all-region honoree Jen Skalko are expected to lead a Gustavus women’s cross country squad which returns all but one runner from last year’s team. Head Coach Scott Jerome’s squad is hoping to build off of last season’s fourth place finish at the MIAC Championships. The Gusties, which placed fifth at the NCAA Regional, were just one point away from qualifying for the NCAA Nationals as a team for the first time since 1995.
Petersen, a junior from Arco, Minnesota, placed third at both the conference championship and regional meet and finished 43rd at the national competition a year ago. She is coming off of a record-breaking track and field season in which she set two indoor and two outdoor distance records.
Skalko, a senior from Eveleth, Minnesota, placed 13th at the regional and 105th at nationals last fall. She was one of the top three Gustie runners at every meet in which she competed.
Other top returnees include Ali Cordie, Stacie Bulfer, Stacy Decker, Kirsten DeVries, Anah Huggenvik, Melissa Kittock, Tasha Pike, Kristi Schneider, and Rachel Schwingler. All nine of those athletes ran in the top seven for Gustavus in at least two races last season.
The squad returns to campus on August 17 and begins pre-season workouts on August 19 for the upcoming year. The first competition of the fall is at the St. Mary’s University Invite in Winona, Minnesota on August 30 at 10:00 am.