The Ole women, talented and deep but also young, knew they would face a tough test this year. The team was unsure of what to expect, running without a proven frontrunner like they had last year in Megan Daymont 03 and facing a MIAC field with not only a strong Gustavus team, but also dangerous teams from Carleton, St. Thomas and St. Benedicts.
Our goal was to defend our title. We knew that if anyone was going to beat us they would have to have a spectacular race and Gustavus did that, captain Marit Grorud 04 said.
The Ole women ran together in packs and were able to feed off each other. The Oles have had several different runners place first for the team over the course of the season and this time it was Erin Bengston 06 who stepped up to finish seventh in 19:07, placing herself on the All-Conference team.
The Oles proved they were the deepest team in the MIAC by placing seven runners in the top 30 and having five runners who were All-Conference honorable mention. Kari Koos 06, Erin Weier 07 and Grorud finished within three seconds of each other to place 16th, 17th, and 18th respectively. Brenna Bray 06 and Lindsay Boetcher 06 joined the others on the honorable mention list by finishing in 22nd and 25th place. Coach Chris Daymont was very impressed with how her young team went out and left everything on the course.
I think we ran great. We ran like champions and got beat by a really good team. It was our best race of the season. When a teams won five championships in a row theres a lot of pressure, Daymont said.
The Oles should gain some confidence from the race, as they defeated nationally ranked St. Benedicts and their cross-town rivals from Carleton.
More challenges await, however, as only three teams will qualify for the Nationals from their regional meet, which takes place in two weeks at Grinnell College.
If our pack keeps moving on we can make some noise at Regions, Daymont said. Were just going to have to run a perfect race.
Experience could play a factor into how far the Oles season goes, but many of this years varsity runners have the experience of racing in last years regional and nationals races.
Grorud added that everyone on the team is experienced enough for regions. Whoever runs the regional race will have the experience from running races this year, she said.
Daymont looks forward to seeing how her runners respond at the regional race this year. Theyre a great team, great teammates, she said. Weve got great young kids, it will go a long way towards the future.