The Gustavus men’s cross country team will take part in the MIAC Championships on Saturday at 3 pm at Como Park Golf Course in St. Paul, Minn. The Gusties will be looking to improve on their eighth place finish from a year ago.
Gustavus Men’s Preview
Head Coach: Jed Friedrich (Fourth year)
Athletes to Watch:
Chris deLaubenfels, Sr., Mount Vernon, Iowa (2nd at MSU Open, 14th at 2006 MIAC meet, 41st at NCAA Region meet)
Dan Foley, Jr., Minneapolis, Minn. (10th at Bison Open, 17th at 2006 MIAC meet, 38th at 2006 NCAA Region meet)
The 2007 Gustavus men’s cross country team looks to improve on its eighth place finish at the conference championships in 2006. Senior Chris deLaubenfels earned all-conference honors a year ago with a 14th place finish. deLaubenfels has been working to return to form after suffering an early season injury. Junior Dan Foley finished 17th at last year’s conference meet, just missing all-conference honors.
Joining deLaubenfels and Foley on the conference squad are junior John Leaf and sophomores John Kennedy and Mark Hartman. Leaf earned a 55th-place finish at the MIAC meet last year, while Kennedy finished 63rd-place and Hartman placed 73rd at last year’s conference meet. The Gusties were just 12 points away from a sixth place finish last year and it appears that the battle for the middle four spots will be very tight again this year. Coach Friedrich is hoping that a strong performance on race day could result in a top five finish for the Gusties.
2007 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Men’s Cross Country Championship Preview
Saint John’s captured its 14th team championship a year ago at Como Park, ending a six-year drought after claiming four team trophies in a row in the late 90s. Now, the Johnnies are going for their second straight title as the No. 1-ranked team in the Central Region and tenth-ranked team in the nation.
Last year, the Johnnies edged Hamline by just six points (35 to 41) for the team trophy with five underclassmen finishing in the top 12. Hamline graduated MIAC champ Travis Bristow and third-place finisher Chris Yotter, and this season the Carleton Knights have emerged as SJU’s most dangerous challenger. Carleton is rated fourth in the region and 25th in NCAA Division III.
The MIAC features four other regionally-ranked squads which could pose darkhorse challenges to SJU and Carleton: Hamline, Macalester, St. Olaf and St. Thomas.
Saint John’s is led by Chris Erichsen and Kelly Fermoyle, a pair of top-six MIAC finishers from a year ago. They were first and second-respectively, at the Willamette (Ore.) Invitational and two weeks ago were the only two MIAC finishers in the top 10 at the Wisconsin-La Crosse Jim Drews Invitational. Erichsen also crossed the tape first in the Saint John’s Invitational. The veteran Johnnie team is as deep as they are fast at the top of the lineup and boast five all-conference runners.
Carleton won the Grinnell Les Duke Invitational and like SJU, also won a race in Oregon, taking first at the Lewis & Clark Pioneer Open. Joe Sepe and Quentin Kennedy were named MIAC co-runners of the week after leading the way at the Lewis & Clark meet. Kennedy placed 17th at the Griak Invitational.
Conference champs two years ago and runners-up in ’07, Hamline should still be a factor despite the losses of Bristow and Yotter. The Pipers used pack running to place fifth at the Griak and 10th at the Jim Drews. Macalester has placed fourth in each of the past four championship meets and is looking to finally break into the top three, while St. Olaf andSt. Thomas are also ranked in the Central Region.
The race for individual placing should be as strong as ever. Eleven of the 15 All-MIAC harriers return and several could vie for first-place honors. SJU has five returning all-conference runners: Erichsen, Fermoyle, Mitch Vanbrugeen, Andrew Stevens and Darren Larson. Other returning All-MIAC runners include the Bethel pair of Dan Greeno and Carl Gladitsch, John Nowinski of Carleton, Chris deLaubenfels of Gustavus and Jon Murphy of Hamline.