The Gustavus women’s cross country team will take part in the MIAC Championships this Saturday at 2:00 pm at Como Park Golf Course in St. Paul, Minn. The Gustavus women’s cross-country team looks to jump into the top three at the MIAC Championships after posting fourth place finishes for the past two years.
Gustavus Women’s Preview
Head Coach: Jed Friedrich (4th year)
Athletes to Watch:
Laura Edlund, Sr., Forest Lake, Minn. (5th at Bison Open, 16th at Tori Neubauer Invite, 29th at 2006 MIAC meet, 54th at NCAA Region Meet)
Sarah Bernhardson, Sr., Eden Prairie, Minn. (20th at Tori Neubauer Invite, 7th at 2006 MIAC meet, 26th at NCAA Region Meet)
Senior Laura Edlund has emerged as this year’s top runner replacing two-time MIAC champion and NCAA Central Region Runner of the Year Hailey Harren. Edlund, who has been the top Gustie finisher in every meet this season, will look to improve on last year’s 29th-place finish at the conference meet. Senior Sarah Bernhardson, the lone returning all-conference runner after placing seventh at the conference championships in 2006, has being improving throughout the season after suffering an early-season injury. Senior Sarah Willis will look to improve on her 53rd-place finish at last year’s conference meet. First-year runners Megan Lundgren and Kate Reins have been consistent as the team’s second and third runners this season and these two talented young performers could be the key to the Gusties jumping into the top three in the team standings in 2007. Gustavus enters the 2007 MIAC Championships rated sixth in the USTFCCCA Midwest Region rankings.
2007 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Women’s Cross Country Championship Preview
As the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference celebrates its 25th anniversary of women’s athletics, the 2007 women’s cross country championships should bring out and exemplify some of the best things about women’s sports in the MIAC.
Last year, St. Thomas ended Carleton’s two-year run on the title by beating the Knights by 19 points for the team title, while St. Olaf edged Gustavus Adolphus by a single point for third place. UST ended an eight-year championship drought and collected the program’s 13th MIAC championship. This year, the team competition should again be exciting. Two MIAC are nationally-ranked: St. Olaf is No. 14 (as of Oct. 17) and St. Thomas is No. 21. They are rated second and fourth, respectively in the Central Region.
Gustavus, Carleton, Bethel and St. Benedict are also ranked in the top-ten in the region, and are serious darkhorse challengers to the leading contenders. The Gusties are coming off a strong 11th-place finish at the UW-La Crosse Tori Neubauer Invitational and were just behind St. Olaf and St. Thomas at the U of M Roy Griak Invitational. Bethel is as strong at the top of the lineup as many of the nation’s top teams.
The Oles and Tommies have combined for 21 team titles in 25 years. They hooked up twice this fall, with St. Olaf edging UST at the Carleton Invite and Griak Invite. The difference to date has been pack running as St. Olaf has shown the deepest lineup in the MIAC. The Oles rarely get out-scored at the fourth and fifth positions in the lineup.
A new MIAC individual champion will be crowned as the competition opens up considerably following the graduation of Gustavus star Hailey Harren, who won the last two races and placed first by an easy 1:32 in ’06. The competition for Harren’s crown should be a good one.
Returning will be last year’s second- and third-place finishers, Nikki Umhoefer from Bethel and Katie Theisen from St. Thomas. Five other All-MIAC runners also return: Erin Lowrey from Macalester, Sarah Bernhardson from Gustavus, Karen Campbell from Carleton, Bergen Holzworth from Concordia and Kelly Russ from St. Thomas.
Bethel’s Marie Borner placed second at the U of M meet and third at the UW-Oshkosh Brooks Invitational, and combines with Umhoefer to give the Royals a pair of the MIAC’s fastest runners (Umhoefer was fifth at the Brooks Invite). Theisen was the individual champ at the Carleton Inivite and the UWEC Blugold Open, while teammate Julie Anderson placed second at Carleton and third at Eau Claire.
MIAC Top-30 finishers at the La Crosse Tori Neubauer Invitational, include Jenna Carlson and Annie Knutson from St. Olaf, Laura Edlund and Bernhardson from Gustavus, Lowrey from Macalester and Hailey Brenden of Concordia. Top-30 finishers from the Griak meet include Borner, Theisen, Umhoefer, Carlson, Edlund, Anderson and Lowrey.