The Gustavus Adolphus College women’s cross country team will be competing at the NCAA III Championships in Hanover, Indiana on Saturday, November 22. The Gusties, this year’s Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference champions, qualified for the national meet by placing in the top three at last weekend’s regional race.
Gustavus is making its second-ever appearance at the national competition as a team. The last time the Gusties qualified for the national meet was in 1995 when the squad went on to place 13th nationally. This year’s team qualified for the national race by placing third at the NCAA Central Region competition in Grinnell, Iowa on November 15. Gustavus finished with 110 points, trailing only Nebraska Wesleyan (105) and Wartburg (109), the other two schools that will represent the central region at the national meet. At last season’s regional race, the Gusties missed qualifying for the national competition by one point.
Top runners for the Gusties who hope to earn All-America honors include senior Jen Skalko and junior Nichole Petersen. Skalko, a two-time all-regional selection, was the team’s fastest athlete at the regional meet, placing sixth overall with a time of 22:28. Petersen, a three-time all-regional runner, finished in seventh with a time of 22:30. This will be Skalko’s second appearance at the national meet. Last year she placed 105th overall. Petersen, who is making her third trip to the national competition, placed 68th in 2001 and 43rd a year ago.
Joining Skalko and Petersen will be senior Rachel Schwingler, juniors Ali Cordie and Tasha Pike, sophomore Mollie Lager, and first year runner Brianna Vaa. Gustavus is led by Head Coach Scott Jerome, this year’s MIAC Coach of the Year.
The women’s race will begin at 10:00 am, Central Standard Time. It will span six kilometers and will be held at the L.S. Ayres Athletic Complex on the campus of Hanover College.