2016 Cross Country Season Preview

Posted on September 2nd, 2016 by

ST. PETER, Minn. – The Gustavus men’s and women’s cross country teams kick off their 2016 season Saturday as they head to St. Bonifacius, Minn. to compete in the Crown Invite at Crown College. The meet is scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m.

Head Coach Dale Bahr enters his eighth season at the helm of both men’s and women’s cross country programs and is looking forward to what each squad brings for the 2016 campaign.

The 2015 Gustie men’s cross country team placed fifth at the MIAC Championships. Evan Jones (Jr, Pella, Iowa) owned a ninth place finish, good for MIAC All-Conference honors. Thomas Knobbe (Jr. Decorah, Iowa) also received All-MIAC honors with a 13th place finish.

Evan Jones

Evan Jones

At the NCAA Central Region Meet, the Gusties placed sixth of 29 teams teams, marking the best team regional finish since 1992. Knobbe led the way with a 28th place finish, earning All-Region honors.

Seniors Sam Benson (Sr., Moorhead, Minn.), Carston Dammann (Sr., Lake City, Minn.), Alex Fredrickson (Sr., Victoria, Minn.), Kyle Fredrickson (Sr., Victoria, Minn.), Jones, Knobbe, Joel Malwitz (Sr., Lake Elmo, Minn.), and Austin Zollner (Sr., Oakdale, Minn.) look to lead the way for the Gusties. Dammann and Jones will be the team captains.

“This senior class is one of the biggest and most talented classes we’ve brought in for a long time,” Bahr said. “The senior group has driven this team to be as good as it is. They are just making it happen, a tremendous group of guys and I couldn’t ask anything more.”

Thomas Knobbe

Thomas Knobbe

The Black and Gold have received seven votes and rank just outside the top-35 teams in the nation in the latest United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCA) poll. Fellow MIAC rival St. Olaf College is ranked No. 6 nationally in the poll.

“It does show that these guys have bought in to what we recruited them for, which was to change the direction of the program,” Bahr spoke with high praise for the senior class. “We’re looking to upset St. Olaf, anything can happen on any given day and I won’t count these guys out. The greatest thing about this men’s team is they really believe in what the captains and the seniors are saying. They believe they really can get to the next level. We’ve got a great mix of some older and younger athletes and have a lot of depth and good front-runners. We definitely are a targeted team because of how well we ran last year. It’s going to be a good year.”

The Gustavus women’s cross country team took sixth place at the 2015 MIAC Championships and placed 11th out of 30 teams at the NCAA Central Region meet.

The 2016 Gustie women’s team lost two of their front-runners from last year but Bahr is excited about the team’s depth this year.

“It’s hard to replace those two front-runners, but this pack that was spread out last year has packed up and they’re stronger than they were last year,” said Bahr.

Mikaela Algren (Sr., Prior Lake, Minn.), Steph Welke (Sr., Tomahawk, Wis.), Emily Sands (Sr., Rochester, Minn.), Megan Weaver (So., Stillwater, Minn.), Sadie Novak-Klug (Jr., Waseca, Minn.), Lotus Schifsky (So., Prescott, Wis.), Olivia Rosenow (Jr., Maple Grove, Minn.) are returners to watch for this season.

“We brought in a pretty big talented freshman class,” Bahr said. “They definitely have some talent to come in and compete. They may surprise us at the end of the year and be in the top-seven for regions. We’re going to have some nice depth, which we didn’t have as much last year. I think the runners that we have back are in better shape.”

Captains Steph Welke and Emily Sands

Captains Steph Welke and Emily Sands

Sands and Welke will lead the Black and Gold as team captains.

“What I like about this team is we know we have talent and the fact that we’re under the radar is always a good thing to me,” Bahr said. “It’s nice to surprise some people at the end. I’m excited; this is a young group with some good core leadership. I think as hard as the ladies worked over the summer, this pack is stronger than they were last year. I think we’re going to see a better team overall.”

2016 Men’s Roster

2016 Men’s Schedule

2016 Women’s Roster

2016 Women’s Schedule

MIACathletics.com Season Preview

 

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