The Gusties will look to claim their first ever MIAC Championship this weekend after finishing second last year. Coach Scott Jerome’s squad has performed very well during the regular season and is set to battle St. John’s, St. Olaf and Macalester for the title. Gustavus is led by sophomores Erich Ziegler, Kevin Patzoldt, Andy Rishavy, Chuck Anderson and Dan Kueffer and junior Nate Porath.
The chase for the team title appears to be a dead heat between Gustavus, St. John’s and St. Olaf. The Gusties have been able to defeat both the Johnnies and Oles in recent meets, however the dynamics change at the conference meet since no Division I competitors will be involved compared to the most recent competitions.
Erich Ziegler will be the favorite to win both the 10 kilometer freestyle race and 15 kilometer classical race based on results from the regular season. His main challengers will be Jon Giese of Saint Olaf and Christian Brekke of Saint John’s. Ziegler has held a slight advantage over both skiers throughout the Central Collegiate Ski Association races over the past six weeks. Gustie Kevin Patzoldt will also race with the leaders and his finish will be important to the team’s title chances.
Coach Scott Jerome is excited about the opportunity for the team to challenge for the title. He commented, “We have tapered well and are ready to go. The course is relatively flat which is a bit of a disadvantage for us, however our team depth will hopefully allow us to overcome the pack racing that tends to take place on flat courses.”
The Championships will take place at the Graystone Trails in Saint Cloud. The first race for the men will be the 10 kilometer freestyle which begins at 1:00 pm on Saturday. The meet will conclude with the 15 kilometer classical race at 10:00 am on Sunday.