West Salem, Wis. – The Gustavus men’s cross country team finished 18th in a field of 26 teams at the Jim Drews Invitational on Saturday morning. The Gusties amassed 515 team points on the day. UW-La Crosse, the host school, racked up 45 points to win the Invitational. Of the eight MIAC schools competing, Gustavus was sixth behind St. Olaf (fifth), Saint John’s (seventh), St. Thomas (ninth), Hamline (14th), and Saint Mary’s (16th).
“Initially when I watched the race unfold, it was not exciting to see where we finished,” stated head coach Dale Bahr. “But after looking at the results, everyone that returned from last year improved their time all the way down the line. They were faster on the same course in worse conditions, so we are definitely showing improvement, and I am happy to see that.”
A model of improvement, Leighton Becher (So., Woodbury, Minn.) led the Gusties with a 78th place finish. The sophomore finished in 26:46.4 on Saturday compared to a time of 28:04.8 a year ago, an improvement of 1:18.4. Gustavus had only two more runners finish in the top 100 out of a field of 461 competitors. Joseph Renier (Jr., Cambridge, Minn.) finished 93rd with a time of 26:59.4, and Chad Claybaugh (Jr., Excelsior, Minn.) finished on Renier’s heels in 94th with a time of 27:02.1.
“This team works extremely hard,” remarked Bahr. “They are doing all of the little things, and that is reflecting in their improvement of times.”
The Gusties will now have a weekend off in preparation for the MIAC Championships on Saturday, October 27th in St. Paul, Minn. That race will begin at 2:15 p.m. at Como Golf Course.