The Gustavus men’s and women’s cross country teams will take part in the MIAC Championships this Saturday at Como Park Golf Course in St. Paul, Minn. The women’s race is scheduled to begin at 2:15 p.m. with the men’s race to follow at 3:15 p.m.
Gustavus Women’s Preview
The Gustavus Adolphus women’s cross country team has battled injury and illness for most of the regular season and new head coach Dale Bahr is hoping that the squad is finally healthy and can improve on the Gusties’ seventh place finish at the MIAC Championships last season.
The Gusties sport a youthful roster with only three seniors on the team. Leading the way for Gustavus will be sophomore Brooke Beskau (Hastings, Minn.), who placed ninth at last year’s MIAC Championship. She was one of five Gusties to place within the top 58 at the 2008 conference meet. Joining Beskau will be letterwinners Danielle Burgmeier (So., Plymouth, Minn.) (45), Megan Lundgren (Jr., Mankato, Minn.) (49), Vanessa Jones (Sr., Grand Forks, North Dakota) (50), Kim Rostvold (So., Grand Rapids, Minn.) (58), and Kathy Westergren (Jr., Duluth, Minn.). Newcomers who have contributed to the top seven several times this season include Liz Hauer (Fy., Little Falls, Minn.) and Kate Eggers (Fy., Montevideo, Minn.).
Coach Dale Bahr will look to this solid group of returners to help put the team back in the top four in the MIAC, after placing outside the top four last season for just the third time this decade.
Gustavus Men’s Preview
The Gusties return four letterwinners from a season ago, all of who placed within the top 65 in the 2008 conference meet. Mark Hartman (Sr., White Bear Lake, Minn.) is the top returning runner from a season ago after he placed 27th overall with a time of 26.38. In addition to Hartman, Gustavus returns Nick Ross (Jr., Hastings, Minn.) (40), Anders Bowman (So., Plymouth, Minn.) (50), and John Kennedy (Sr., Coon Rapids, Minn.) (65). The Gusties graduated All-Conference and All-Region runner Dan Foley (Minneapolis, Minn.) who placed fifth in the conference last season, clocking in at 25:34.
Others who have consistently placed in the top seven this season and will likely contribute at the MIAC Championships include Max Hanson (Sr., Montrose, Minn.), Jeremy Kuhn (Jr., St. Michael, Minn.), Mark Bartley (So., Blue Earth, Minn.), Alex Thornton (So., Byron, Minn.) and Adam Lund (Fy., Burnsville, Minn./Apple Valley).
Coach Bahr has been pleased with the progress of his young squad this season and feels that if his team can run relaxed an focused at the MIAC Championships that it can place in the upper division in one of the top men’s cross country conferences in the country.
MIAC Championship Preview (Courtesy of MIAC Office)
The 2009 MIAC Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Championship will take place this Saturday, October 31 at Como Park Golf Course in St. Paul. The women’s race is scheduled to begin at 2:15 p.m. with the men’s race to follow at 3:15 p.m. The 2009 Championships are hosted by the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University.
Five of the top ten women’s teams in the Central Region will take to the course at Saturday’s MIAC Championships. A year after being edged by St. Thomas by two points for the MIAC title and beating Carleton by three points, Bethel enters the championship as the #1 team in the region and #14 in the nation. Carleton (#4 in the region, #20 in the nation) will pose a threat to the Royals for the team title, as will St. Thomas (5th in the region, 23rd in the nation). Other regionally ranked MIAC teams include St. Olaf at #7 and Gustavus at #10.
In 2008, the MIAC women’s team title was decided by one of the smallest margins of all time. In 2009, it could be the men’s turn for an extremely close team race. Of the five MIAC men’s teams ranked in the Central Region, none has set themselves apart from the pack. St. Thomas has the highest ranking (3rd in the region and 22nd in the nation), but will face fierce competition for the top spot in the conference. St. Olaf (5th), Saint John’s (6th), Augsburg (7th), and Hamline (8th) are all close behind the Tommies in the regional rankings. Last season, St. Olaf, Hamline, and St. Thomas were the top three finishers in the MIAC team race.
2008 MIAC and NCAA Division III Women’s Champion Marie Borner, a senior from Bethel, returns for her final MIAC Championship after winning the MIAC race last season by 45 seconds. Bethel junior Alex Potter and Carleton sophomore Simone Childs-Walker finished second and third last year and will likely pose the biggest threats to Borner. Other returning All-Conference runners from 2008 include: Concordia junior Hailey Brenden, Hamline senior Margot Branigan, Carleton senior Laura Roach, Gustavus junior Brooke Beskau, Saint Benedict sophomore Kaycee Knutson, St. Thomas senior Kelly Russ, Macalester senior Erin Lowrey, Bethel junior Kristin Mork, and Bethel senior Heather Jelen.
Seven MIAC Men’s All-Conference runners return from 2008, including St. Olaf junior Duboul Ruon, last year’s individual champion. Bethel senior Dan Greeno (fourth in 2008) has had a strong fall campaign and will compete with Ruon for the title. Augsburg’s Brent Haglund, Hamline’s Ian Bauer, Carleton’s Charlie Gamble, and Macalester’s Wade Ekstrom finished seventh through tenth last year and all four seniors should contend for first place at their final MIAC Championship. St. Thomas sophomore Ben Sathre, the Tommies’ top runner, is the final All-Conference returnee after he placed 14th in 2008.