St. Peter, Minn. – With a completely healthy squad for what seems like the first time this season, the Gustavus men’s cross country team will have all hands on deck when it travels to St. Paul to compete in the 2012 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships. The meet is set to start at 2:15 p.m. at Como Golf Course on Saturday afternoon and will feature 11 MIAC institutions.
The Gusties enter the 2012 MIAC Championships coming off an eighth place performance in 2011. Dillon Emo (So., Brookings, S.D.) led the way for the Black and Gold last year with a 26th place finish in 26:29. Preston Tomlinson (Sr., New Prague, Minn.) was the only other returner to finish in Gustavus’ top five. Tomlinson crossed the finish line in 27:31 to place him 54th. With a total of 211 team points, the Gusties finished 166 points behind last year’s champion, Hamline, and 26 points behind seventh place finisher Saint Mary’s, something that head coach Dale Bahr is looking to change.
“We challenged the guys to step up and be top four or top five this year,” stated Bahr. “Eighth place is unacceptable. The guys seem to be responsive of that, and I think they understand what it will take to be in the top five.”
Running as a pack has been the strength of a Gustie team that has recorded two third place finishes, a sixth place finish, and an 18th place finish over the course of the season. With three different runners recording the lowest time on the team in the four meets this year, the Gustie men have shown strong depth from top to bottom. Adam Lund (Sr., Burnsville, Minn.), Joseph Renier (Jr., Cambridge, Minn.), and Leighton Becher (So., Woodbury, Minn.) have set the tone and will look to continue their strong running in an effort to push the Gusties to their first top five finish since 2007 when they placed fifth.
“Our guys know they need to go out there and compete,” mentioned coach Bahr. “The attitudes are there so it will be fun to see how they step up and perform.”
The 2012 race marks the 15th anniversary of Como Park Golf Course in St. Paul, Minn., serving as the championship host site. The event will begin with the men’s 8K race at 2:15 p.m., followed by the women’s 6K race. Augsburg College is the host school for the 2012 MIAC Cross Country Championships. The day will conclude with a short awards ceremony to honor the team and individual champions and All-Conference runners near the clubhouse following the end of the women’s race. The Top 15 runners in each race will be named All-MIAC, with finishers 16-25 receiving Honorable Mention, and all will be recognized for their accomplishment during the presentation.