Terre Haute, Ind. – The Gustavus women’s cross country team finished 21st in a field of 32 teams on Saturday afternoon at the NCAA Championships. The Gusties finished with 465 total points, 13 behind 20th place finisher Lewis and Clark. Johns Hopkins won the race with a total of 158 points while fellow-central region representative Wartburg took second with 221 points.
“It was a great experience,” explained head coach Dale Bahr. “Towards the beginning of the race, all seven of our runners were at the very back of the whole field, but they fought their way back through the whole crowd. I was proud of the way they raced.”
The Gustie women were able to claw their way back to 21st thanks in large part to senior Beth Hauer (Sr., Little Falls, Minn.). In her final cross country race wearing the Three Crowns, Hauer fought all the way back up to 56th place to lead the Gusties. She crossed the line in 22:25.5, just over 25 seconds faster than her teammate Caitlin Fermoyle (So., Mendota Heights, Minn.). Fermoyle ran to a time of 22:52.1 for 116th place.
Kate Eggers (Sr., Montevideo, Minn.) and Rebecca Hare (So., Albany, Minn.) followed Fermoyle. Eggers finished her Gustavus cross country career with a 126th place finish in 22:56.3 while Hare crossed the line in 133rd with a time of 22:57.9. Senior Meredith Bache-Wiig (Sr., Plymouth, Minn.) rounded out the Gustavus top five with a 231st place finish in 23:51.0.
“None of these women had been to the national meet before this, so they didn’t really know what to expect,” continued Bahr. “With that in mind, I thought they did a great job. We ran well and can say that we put our best effort forward. It was a good day for us.”
Saturday marked the first time that Gustavus has competed as a team in the NCAA Championships since 2003 when they placed 12th in a field of 24 teams. It was just the third time in program history that the Gusties had all seven runners competing. On 16 separate occasions, Gustavus has sent an individual to the NCAA Championships, the latest coming last season when Brooke Beskau `12 ran to a 119th place finish.
“Moving forward, our goal is to make sure this isn’t a one-time thing,” finished Bahr. “We are going to focus on consistently making it to, and competing at the national meet.”