2022 Cross Country Season Preview

Posted on September 2nd, 2022 by

SAINT PETER, Minn. The Gustavus men’s and women’s cross country teams compete in their first race of the season this Saturday at the Crown College Invitational in St. Bonifacius, Minn. The men’s race starts at 10 a.m. followed by the women’s race at 10:45 a.m.

Led by Head Coach Brenden Huber in his sixth season, both teams look to improve their MIAC and NCAA standing this fall. The 2021 season ended with the men’s squad finishing fourth in MIAC Championships and eighth at the NCAA North Region Championships, while their female counterparts boasted a third place MIAC finish and ninth at NCAA Regionals.

“The bar was set really high last year. We fell a little short on our expectations,” Huber said on last year’s results. “This year, we know we’re a different team, and we’re focusing on where this group can be competitive. We have new people stepping up into bigger roles, and there’s a learning curve with that, but we’re still looking to have a very competitive season.”

The men’s team, in absence of graduated senior and four-time All-Conference runner Andrew Stumbo (Boone, Iowa), looks to the experience of Henry Hinchcliffe (Sr., Austin) and Tucker Wallin (Sr., Red Wing) to lead the way for the Golden Gusties. Their roster of 22 features 18 returners and four new faces.

Hinchcliffe, a returning All-Conference honorable mention selection, finished his 2021 season running a lifetime best 25:07.79, earning him 29th at the NCAA North Region Championships. Wallin helped the team to two first place finishes in the Hamline Invitational and Saint John’s Fall Finale, placing 11th and fifth, respectively.

Coming off a strong first year, Huber anticipates sophomore Tyler Smith (Norwood Young America) will have an impact as well.

“Tyler was a freshman who made it on a very talented squad last year, so we’re looking for some really big things from him continuing off of last year’s success.”

The women’s squad returns 18 runners this season, while adding only one first-year. This experienced roster relies on top returner Evelyn Villalobos (Jr., Crystal) to lead the charge this season. Villalobos earned All-Region and All-MIAC honors in 2021, placing 32nd at the NCAA North Region Championships and 15th at the MIAC Championships.

As the only freshman on the women’s squad, Huber expects Molly Liston (Richfield) to make a difference in her first year.

“We’re really excited about Molly. She’s been showing that she will stick her nose in with the varsity group and be ready to jump in and fill another spot.”

After a long summer of preparation and training, Coach Huber and his team are looking forward to showcasing their talent.

“We’re ready for a new chapter in Gustavus cross country. We’re carrying some of the old expectations, but with a new group. There’s some freshness to this year. We’re ready to see some new faces up front and ultimately where that will take us.”

2022 Men’s Roster | 2022 Women’s Roster | 2022 Schedule

 

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