The outcome of the race itself fell short of expectations as the Oles finished 22 points behind first place St. Bens and a mere one point shy of rival Carleton. After a week of hard training and with several key runners debilitated by illness, the team was not at its full capability. "Any time you lose to [the Carls] it makes you sick," said coach Chris Daymont, "but we had a great pack that was just a bit more tired than normal." Despite finishing one point back, the Oles managed to land all of their first five runners within 18 seconds of each other, well ahead of the fourth finisher in Carletons widely spaced group.
The tight pack of harriers, headed up by ninth, tenth, and eleventh place finishers Kezia Manlove 06, Erin Weier 07, and Lindsay Boetcher 06 showed composure as they held the top twelve within one minute and two seconds of each other. "Our top twelve had only one senior and no juniors. This is a very young team," said Daymont. Indeed, several first years, including Stephanie Block and Lauren Ciechanowski, put forth good efforts in their first competitive experience at the collegiate distance of six kilometers. Rounding out the top five scorers were sophomores Larisa Nordstrom and Brenna Bray.
Pack running is a new concept for this years runners, who, in previous years, had been able to look to perennial All-American Megan Daymont 03 for leadership. "It definitely felt different" said captain April Graves 05. "The whole top group was used to having that leader. This year we dont have a sure number one, but we have a lot of depth." The team will have to rely on that depth as they pursue their quest to defend their conference championship as well as regain a berth to nationals. "The training is definitely there; we just need to start believing in ourselves as a team." Graves said.
Next Saturdays Ole Invite will give the team the opportunity to show off their ability at home as they face off against a competitive field of 19 teams. "Weve really stepped it up this week." said Daymont. "Now we just need to realize what we have to do."