Ranking high among the highlights of the action packed morning was the St. Olaf womens cross country team, who showcased their depth by racing to a fourth place finish in a field of 26 teams.
The Oles looked to several new leaders to push the pace and they found fresh faces ready and willing to take the challenge.
"It was a finishers race," said Sarah Estill 06.
The combination of a fast running surface, multitudes of competitors, and a shortened distance of five kilometers forced the harriers to tap into their deep pool of talent and look to more "speed oriented" competitors for leadership.
Among those rising to the occasion were Lindsay Boetcher 06, Erin Weier 07, and Stephanie Block 07 finishing 22, 26, and 30 respectively
Using their pack-running strategy, the Oles were able to produce a spread of 12 seconds between their first and fifth runner, the smallest by far of all 26 teams in attendance.
Erin Bengston 06 spurred the pack on, running to an exciting finish, followed closely by Kezia Manlove 06 and Larisa Nordstrom 06.
The result was another solid finish for the team as they placed fourth in a highly competitive field dominated by the MIAC conference.
"The race really gave us a chance to gauge the depth of the field and see whats out there," said Estill in regard to this years hotly contested battle for the conference championship. Participating in the inter-conference showdown were teams from Carleton, Gustavus, and Macalaster, each earning a place next to the Oles in the top five.
It was a learning experience for a young Ole team not yet accustomed to large-scale meets.
In spite of this confluence of talent in the MIAC, the team is confident as it continues to position itself for the conference and regional meets.
Positioning is indeed the key concept as the team looks towards November.
"Were focused more on our training right now than on where were placing in individual meets," said Stephanie Block 07.
Estil added, "We dont train for [Roy] Griak, we train for the end of the year ... Worrying will get us nowhere."
The women continue their march toward seasons end with a tip to Colfax, Wis. to partake in the Midwest Challenge.
With a pack as tight as St. Olafs, this group of harriers will have every opportunity to dominate when it counts.