The Gustavus men’s and women’s cross country teams reported back to St. Peter, Minn. to begin pre-season training for the upcoming 2011 season on Sunday, Aug. 21. Head Coach Dale Bahr, who enters his third season at the helm of the cross country programs, welcomed a total of 61 runners to campus for camp.
Seniors Mark Bartley (Blue Earth, Minn.), Anders Bowman (Plymouth, Minn.), and Alex Thornton (Byron, Minn.), juniors Preston Tomlinson (New Prague, Minn.) and Adam Lund (Burnsville, Minn.), and sophomore Chad Claybaugh (Excelsior, Minn.) make up the list of returning letterwinners on the men’s side. Coach Bahr had 31 men report for training, the most he has seen in his 12 years at Gustavus.
“We should have a good balanced squad,” said Bahr. “I think one of the biggest improvements we are going to see from the summer is the shift from ‘mileage monsters’ to smart training! At the end of last year we tried to get the athletes to understand that the emphasis should not be about a number, but more on the quality of the miles your are going to do. By talking to individuals, it appears they have grasped the concept and have seen what over-training can do. I am very excited to see what this group of guys can do as they work as a team through out the season.”
A total of 31 female runners reported for pre-season duty. Letterwinners returning on the women’s team include seniors Danielle Burgmeier (Plymouth, Minn.), Kim Rostvold (Grand Rapids, Minn.), and Brooke Beskau (Hastings, Minn.), and juniors Kate Eggers (Montevideo, Minn.), Beth Hauer (Little Falls, Minn.), and Erica Hett (Burnsville, Minn.). Kate Eggers, Kim Rostvold, and Beth Hauer are the squad’s returning All-Conference performers from the 2010 MIAC Championships, as Eggers placed seventh, Rostvold finished 11th, and Hauer took 13th.
“With their experience and years of running together, they have built a close bond which will help them work together to achieve good things this season,” commented Bahr on the returning experience of his top runners. “We have added 10 new ladies to the team, and they have already shown they fit in well with the returners. Year-after-year, the women show they are ready for the challenge and compete hard at the end of the season. I expect this season to be the same. I really like the mix of experience and attitudes we have this season.”
The women’s team cracked the top-10 in the recently released U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) pre-season poll. The Gusties rank seventh in the Central Region entering the year, as fellow MIAC schools St. Olaf (4th), Carleton (5th), St. Thomas (6th), Saint Benedict (9th), and Bethel (10th) also made the list.
The Gustavus women’s team finished fourth with 93 points at the 2010 MIAC Cross Country Championships. The men’s team recorded 213 points to finish eighth at the MIAC Championships.
The Gustavus men’s and women’s cross country teams will open the 2011 season with their Alumni Meet on Aug. 27, and the Gustavus Invitational on Sept. 1. Both meets will be held in St. Peter with the Alumni Meet beginning at 10:30 a.m. and the Invitational taking place at 2:00 p.m.