The Gustavus women’s cross country team opens its 2010 campaign ranked sixth in the Central Region poll by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) after finishing the 2009 season ranked ninth. Head Coach Dale Bahr’s squad garnered a high ranking by returning all but two of its top performers from last year’s group that finished sixth at the MIAC Championships and ninth out of 26 teams at the NCAA Central Region meet.
The Gusties top returners include junior Kim Rostvold (Grand Rapids, Minn), who earned All-Region honors at last year’s regional meet, senior captains Brooke Beskau (Hastings, Minn.), Megan Lundgren (Mankato, Minn.) and Karyn Peterson (Victoria, Minn.), senior Laura Secor (Stillwater, Minn.), junior Danielle Burgmeier (Plymouth, Minn.) and sophomores Kate Eggers (Montevideo, Minn), Beth Hauer (Little Falls, Minn.), Erica Hett (Burnsville, Minn.) and Natalie Ristau (St. Paul, Minn.).
Five of the Gustie women – Beskau, Burgmeier, Eggers, Hauer and Rostvold – gained experience at last year’s NCAA Central Regional with all five runners finishing the meet within 36 seconds of each other. Rostvold posted a time of 23:11.2 to earn 35th place, leading the Gusties across the finish line. Hauer was just four seconds behind Rostvold as she placed 40th with a time of 23:15.2. Beskau took 55th (23:38.5), Burgmeier finished 58th (23:42.2) and Eggers rounded out the group with a 63rd place finish (23:46.6).
Coach Bahr welcomed eight first-year runners to the 2010 squad, anticipating each individual to help support the team while adjusting to the length of collegiate meets. One particular first-year runner that Bahr has his eyes on is Chelsey Richardson. The Miltona, Minn. native had proven success during her high school career and will look to transfer that to Gustavus.
“This season has a great outlook for us in terms of staying healthy,” Bahr mentioned of his squad. “We seem to have a better handle on staying healthy and training in the correct manner to maintain our health. That makes us quite a bit stronger and we’re excited to begin the season with a solid group of women.”
Gustavus will begin its 2010 season on Wednesday, September 1 in a dual meet against Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minn.