The U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) has ranked the Gustavus women’s cross country program 34th in its national poll released Wednesday. Coach Jed Friedrich and the Golden Gusties are coming off a seventh place performance at the 42-team Roy Griak Invitational held in St. Paul last Saturday. The Gusties appearance in the regional and national polls was aided by the fact the team finished higher than five schools ranked in the last week’s Central Region poll.
Senior Laura Edlund (Forest Lake, Minn.) has emerged as Gustavus’ top runner, as she has been the first Gustie across the finish line in every meet this season. Joining Edlund are seniors Sarah Bernhardson (Eden Prairie, Minn.) and Sarah Willis (Willmar, Minn.), who are both previous letterwinners and provide important leadership to a team that has a mix of youth and experience. Rounding out the squad are talented first-year competitiors Megan Lundgren (Mankato, Minn.) and Kate Reins (Osseo, Minn.).
The Gustavus women’s cross country team has not been nationally ranked since 2003 when the team finished 12th at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. This was the same year they won their first MIAC title. St. Olaf and St. Thomas are the only other MIAC schools in the USTFCCCA poll ranked 17th and 24th, respectively.