Cross Country Teams Set To Compete At MIAC Championships

Posted on October 31st, 2014 by

Caitlin Fermoyle and Thomas Knobbe will lead the Gustavus women's and men's cross country teams into the 2014 MIAC Championships set to take place on Saturday.

St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus men’s and women’s cross country teams are set to compete in the 2014 MIAC Cross Country Championships being held on Saturday at the Como Park Golf Course in St. Paul.  The men’s race will begin at 2:15 p.m., while the women’s race will begin at 3:15 p.m.

On the women’s side, Coach Dale Bahr’s squad will look to improve upon its fifth place finish from 2013. After taking home the conference crown in 2012, Gustavus finished with 155 points last season to finish behind Macalester College (136), College of Saint Benedict (115), St. Olaf College (69) and champion Carleton College (51). The Gusties placed two runners inside the top 15, which qualified them for All-Conference honors. One of those runners, Rebecca Hare, is now gone due to graduation after finishing in 23:21, good for 13th place. However, Caitlin Fermoyle (Sr., Mendota Heights, Minn.) the team’s leading runner from last season, returns for the Gusties after finishing in 12th place a year ago with a time of 23:24. This season, Fermoyle has led Gustavus in its past two meets and recorded a season-best time of 22:43 to finish 19th at the Tori Neubauer Invite on Oct. 18.

Marit Sonnesyn and Lauren Shurson will look to help the Gusties improve upon their fifth place finish from last season.

Marit Sonnesyn and Lauren Shurson will look to help the Gusties improve upon their fifth place finish from last season.

“Our goal is to place in the top five,” said Fermoyle. “However, because we’ve been in so many big meets, you have so many non-conference runners in the mix.  When you take those individuals out, our score is reduced, so we’re hoping to close the gap with some of the conference teams like St. Thomas, Saint Ben’s and St. Olaf that have beaten us earlier this season. Our training and preparation has been the best I’ve seen during my time here and traditionally, we have run well at the end of the season. I think we will see some big drops in times on Saturday and I fully expect us to run our best race of the year.”

Marit Sonnesyn (Jr., Plymouth, Minn.) has also led the Gusties in two meets this season, including a personal-best time of 23:40 in a fourth place finish at the Central Dutch Invitational on Sept. 6. A combination of Lauren Shurson (Jr. Chanhassen, Minn.), Mata Agre (Fy., Medina, Minn.), Courtney Branch (Jr., Minnetonka, Minn.), Emily Sands (So., Rochester, Minn.) and Stephanie Welke (So., Tomahawk, Wis.) are likely to round out the Gustie scoring and give Bahr’s squad a solid mix of experience and young talent.

“Our women set the expectations high coming into the season and those expectations have not changed,” said Bahr. “The bar is high, but that being said, we cannot control what other teams do and we just need to keep focusing on our team and what’s within our control. We’re hoping for a top five finish and we believe that’s very possible for us.”

On the men’s side, the Gusties are looking to build on a seventh place performance (207 pts.) from a year ago. Bahr has been pleased with the squad’s demeanor all season and expects an improved place and score from last season’s meet.

“I expect our men to do the best they’ve ever done since I became head coach,” said Bahr. “This team has raised their expectations over the years and this is the highest they’ve ever been – the guys are really rising to the occasion. We have a very young nucleus and some upperclassmen who are returning from injuries and illnesses at the perfect time, so I expect us to go out and have a big race on Saturday.”

Sophomore Evan Jones has been a part of a youth driven season for the Gustavus men's cross country team.

Sophomore Evan Jones has been a staple on a youth driven roster for the Gustavus men’s cross country team this season.

In order to achieve that improvement, the Gusties will rely on the aforementioned youth. Sophomores Thomas Knobbe (Decorah, Iowa) and Evan Jones (Pella, Iowa) have been staples at the top of Bahr’s lineup all season and will look to continue that trend come Saturday. Knobbe achieved a personal-best time at the Jim Drews Invitational on Oct. 18 where he finished in 26:00 for a 32nd place finish.  Jones recorded a personal-best time of 26:19 to finish 37th at the Blugold Invitational on Oct. 3.

“Our team has a lot of energy going into Saturday,” said Knobbe. “We know what our goal is and to us, that’s all we need to know. We keep it light, have fun and try not to put too much pressure on ourselves. We know what we need to do and I really think we’re focused enough to achieve that.”

Paul Nordquist (Jr., Edina, Minn.)Leighton Becher (Sr., Woodbury, Minn.)Matt Carlson (Sr., Roseville, Minn.), Sam Renier (Jr., Cambridge, Minn.) and Carston Dammann (So., Lake City, Minn.) will likely round out the scoring for the Gusties on Saturday.

About the MIAC Championships
The top 15 runners in each race will be honored as All-Conference selections, with runners finishing in places 16-to-25 receiving All-Conference Honorable Mention. The two team champions will also be honored and awarded their championship plaque.

Spectators are encouraged to attend the event and admission is free. All spectators are reminded to stay out of the runners’ way on the course, and no dogs, bikes or artificial noisemakers are allowed on the course.

The MIAC has a home page for the event, which will be the first place to find results, recaps, photos and more online following the conclusion of the championships. The page also includes course maps for both the men’s and women’s races, directions to Como Park Golf Course and other helpful links.

Carleton College is serving as the host institution for this year’s championship and athletic training services will be provided by MIAC partner Twin Cities Orthopedic. Bethel University will again be collecting used athletic shoes to be redistributed to those in need through the Soles4Souls organization. There will be a collection bin at the MIAC Championships. There will also be a very limited number of MIAC Cross Country Championship shirts available for purchase in the clubhouse.

The MIAC released a promotional video Wednesday to promote the race. Fans can stay connected throughout the 2014 MIAC Cross Country Championships on social media through the MIAC’s Facebook page or on Twitter using the hashtag #MIACXC.

MIAC Men’s Preview | MIAC Women’s Preview 

 

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