Cross Country Teams Set To Compete At MIAC Championships Saturday

Posted on October 30th, 2015 by

SAINT PETER, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus men’s and women’s cross country teams are set to compete in the 2015 MIAC Cross Country Championships being held on Saturday at the Como Park Golf Course in St. Paul.  The women’s race will begin at 2:15 p.m., while the men’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 sixth place finish in 2014. Last season was the first time since 2009 that the Gusties did not finish inside the top-5. Gustavus finished with 175 points in 2014 to finish behind Macalester College (139), College of Saint Benedict (100), University of St. Thomas (94), St. Olaf College (58), and champion Carleton College (42). Caitlin Fermoyle ’15 was the Gusties’ lone finisher inside the top-10, as she finished seventh with a time of 22:30.8 to earn All-Conference honors. However, senior Marit Sonnesyn (Plymouth, Minn.) has recovered from an injury that kept her out of last year’s MIAC Championships and has led the Gusties in four of five meets this season. Fellow senior Lauren Shurson (Chanhassen, Minn.) also returns and has set personal best times this season to give the Gusties a formidable duo atop their lineup that will look to lead Gustavus back into the top-5.

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 sixth place finish from last season.

“Our goal is to place within the top-3,” said Shurson. “We need to continue improving our race strategies as individuals, but also must race together, work together, push one another along the way, and know we are all racing our best for each other as a unified whole.”

Lotus Schifsky (Fy., Prescott, Wis.) has given the Gusties a solid third option in her first season of collegiate competition. Following Schifsky, a combination of Sadie Novak-Klug (So., Waseca, Minn.), Lydia Hayes (So., Decorah, Iowa), and Olivia Rosenow (So., Maple Grove, Minn.) are likely to round out the Gustie scoring and give Bahr a youthful lineup that could hold for several seasons to come.

“We don’t approach anything individually,” said Bahr. “Everything we do is team-based, including all decisions from us as a coaching staff. I think the ladies have started coming into their own because they’re understanding that it’s critical to run well together. Our last meet [at La Crosse] showed the type of talent this team has, as well as the hard work and dedication that they’ve put in. They want to put their best foot forward at this important meet, and I think they’ve prepared well to do that.”

On the men’s side, the Gusties are looking to build on a sixth place performance (155 points) 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.

“This team has come a long way because they believe in each other, they believe in the program, and they’ve really embraced the team aspect of our sport,” said Bahr. “All of the goals we have are going to become possible because of hard work … we don’t have a ton of all-star recruits on our team currently, but rather, a group of guys that strongly believes in working hard to improve and doing things the Gustavus-way to do that.

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

Junior Evan Jones has been a consistent force in the middle of the Gustavus men’s cross country team’s lineup this season.

In order to achieve that improvement, the Gusties will rely on veteran leadership that begins with two staples atop their lineup in senior Paul Nordquist (Edina, Minn.) and junior Thomas Knobbe (Decorah, Iowa). Nordquist achieved a personal-best time of 25:29.7 at the UW-River Falls Invitational on Sept. 11, while Knobbe recorded a personal-best time of 25:31.7 in the Gusties’ last race at UW-La Crosse on Oct. 17.

Following Nordquist and Knobbe, a combination of Evan Jones (Jr., Pella, Iowa)Marcus Speca (Sr., Minnetonka, Minn.), and Carston Dammann (So., Lake City, Minn.) will likely round out the scoring for the Gusties on Saturday.

“We need each of our guys to race well on Saturday,” said Nordquist. “We haven’t been able to pull together a collective performance that shows our full potential, and we’re hoping to do that on Saturday. We know we have plenty of talent to reach our goal, so it’s essential that we run well as a team so we can achieve it.”

About the MIAC Championships
The top 15 runners in each race will be honored as All-Conference selections, with runners finishing in places 16-25 receiving All-Conference Honorable Mention. The two team champions will also be honored and awarded a 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, and fans can find results, recaps, photos, and other material 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.

The MIAC has released a promotional video to promote the race. Fans can stay connected throughout the 2015 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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