St. Paul, Minn. – “It doesn’t get any better than that,” exclaimed an ecstatic Dale Bahr following his team’s victory at the 2012 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) Women’s Cross Country Championships on Saturday at Como Golf Course. The Gusties placed four runners inside the top 15 who earned All-Conference honors on the way to their first MIAC title since 2003. Gustavus’ 57 team points were just three points in front of second place finisher St. Olaf, who amounted 60 points on the afternoon.
“I told the ladies before the race that this is about you guys running as a team, and doing it for the seniors,” stated Bahr. “They responded with an amazing race. It was so fun to watch that I am truly speechless.”
The Gusties used gutsy performances from the top down on their way to being crowned champions. For the first time in the history of the Gustavus women’s cross country program, four Gusties finished inside the top 15 to earn All-Conference honors.
After being Gustavus’ third runner consistently throughout the season, Rebecca Hare (Jr., Albany, Minn.) stepped up to lead the way for the Gusties on Saturday. The junior finished fourth in a time of 22:29.4 to earn her first All-Conference honor of her career. Sophomore sensation Caitlin Fermoyle (Mendota Heights, Minn.) continued her breakout season. Fermoyle finished fifth just four seconds after Hare in a time of 22:33.0.
Senior Kate Eggers (Montevideo, Minn.) capped off her collegiate career with her third All-Conference performance in as many years. After finishing seventh in 2010 as a sophomore and ninth last year as a junior, Eggers finished 10th on Saturday after she crossed the line in 22:56.6. Beth Hauer (Sr., Little Falls, Minn.) followed Eggers in 12th place with a time of 23:01.9. It is the third time that Hauer has garnered All-Conference honors in her tenure wearing the three crowns.
“Our top four ran amazingly well, and Meredith Bache-Wiig had the race of her life,” mentioned Bahr. “She was our fifth runner and made a world of difference for us to finish the way we did today, as champions.”
A senior captain for the Gusties this season, Meredith Bache-Wiig (Sr., Plymouth, Minn.) finished in 26th in a time of 23:34.2, narrowly outside the qualifications for All-Conference Honorable Mention. It is her highest finish at the MIAC Championships after a 53rd place finish last season.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” remarked Bache-Wiig of being a conference champion in her final season. “We knew all season that we were going to need a fifth person to step up to the top four front runners, who all had an amazing race.”
“We have been focused on making conference our best race of the year,” Bache-Wiig continued. “All of our training was geared towards the conference race and coming together as a team so everyone was on the same page.”
Saturday’s victory marks the second conference championship in the 33-year history of Gustavus women’s cross country. In his fourth year as the head coach, Dale Bahr earned his first MIAC title at the helm of the program. Bahr was an assistant to Scott Jerome in 2003 when the Gustie women won their only other conference title.
“The women are truly team runners,” finished Bahr. “They went out and competed for each other. Their performance today speaks volumes of what you can do when you do it as a team. To beat four teams that we had not beaten all year at the conference meet was incredible to watch, I can’t say enough about the women and their performance.”