St. Peter, Minn. – On Sunday, August 19, the Gustavus men’s and women’s cross country teams reported to campus for preseason training with one common theme in mind: come ready to work. After finishing third at last year’s MIAC Championships, the women are looking to make another push at a top three conference finish, while the men look to improve on an eighth place finish from a year ago.
With four of their top seven performers from the 2011 season returning, the Gustie women will rely on that experience to aid in making a run at the conference crown. Top returners include All-Conference performers Kate Eggers (Sr., Montevideo, Minn.) and Elizabeth Hauer (Sr., Little Falls, Minn.). Eggers led the team at the MIAC Championships in 2011, placing ninth with a time of 22:50. The Montevideo native was later announced as a member of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic team. Hauer finished 15th at the MIAC Championships in 23:14 and was also a member of the USTFCCCA All-Academic team. Senior Meredith Bache-Wing (Plymouth, Minn.) and Sophomore Rebecca Hare (Albany, Minn.) also return from the top seven.
Eggers is excited to return to St. Peter and says camp has been going well thus far. “It feels awesome,” she stated. “I am really excited to be back here getting to run again and be with the team.”
Her excitement is shared by her head coach Dale Bahr. “It’s exciting to bring them back in,” Bahr explains. “It’s sad to see those seniors leave, but the returners we have back and the first-years we brought in are going to help out the team.”
On the men’s side, the direction is up. After placing eighth at the MIAC Championships in 2011, and just three of the top seven performers returning, it is down to business in 2012. The three returners from last year’s squad include senior Preston Tomlinson (New Prague, Minn.), and sophomores Dillon Emo (Brookings, S.D.) and Leighton Becher (Woodbury, Minn.).
As a senior, Tomlinson knows that the goal of the 2012 campaign is to improve and says preseason training has been about just that. “We have people who are ready to go, excited to work, a lot of new first-years that are looking good, so everything has been good so far.”
Making it known that improving is an everyday thing, Bahr has been pleased with the work his runners have put in so far during camp and in the offseason, stating, “A strength of the men is they did their homework over the summer. We look good and we have a strong pack up front.”
The Gustavus cross country teams will be in action starting Saturday, September 1 when they will host their annual alumni meet, held in Linnaeus Arboretum at 10:00 a.m.