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ISSUE 118 VOL 4 PUBLISHED 10/8/2004

A pre-view of things to come: Men run away with victory at Pre-National meet

By Karl Huemiller
Contributing Writer

Friday, October 8, 2004

The St. Olaf mens cross country team pulled off yet another spectacular victory last Friday at the 2004 Division III Pre-Nationals meet.

Traveling to cold and wet Colfax, Wis., the site for this years Division III National Championships, the Oles paced the 23-team field with a total of 85 points, topping second-place finisher UW-LaCrosse by a considerable margin of 17 points.

In a strong, Malcolm Richards 05 was the first Ole to cross the finish line, placing fourth overall with a time of 25:51.4. Richards narrowly beat Bethels David Borner by 0.4 seconds and missed first place by 20 seconds.

All-American Kelly Fulton 05 also turned in another solid performance, placing sixth overall with a time of 25:58.6.

Other notable Ole finishers were Sam Hauck 06, Marc Ellingson 06 and Tony Hoff 06, who came in 17th, 28th and 30th respectively. After the meet, head coach Bill Thorton was pleased with his teams performance.

Our top four [runners] really showed a great deal of patience and discipline as they continually raced into the 80th percentile, Thornton said.

The teams time spread, 1:09 a week ago at the Ole Invite, dropped to a mere 41 seconds on Friday, a sign of improved team depth.

This week our fourth and fifth place runners really stepped it up, especially Tony Hoff, John Lamppa 07 said. Tony had a great race, and that was key for us.

Fridays decisive victory was definitely not a product of poor competition.

Nebraska Wesleyan, the 2003 Central Region runner-ups, placed fourth with 139 points. Macalester, who was only one point behind St. Olaf at last months Ole Invite, finished fifth with 158 points.

Defending MIAC champion St. Thomas managed only an eighth finish with 200 points.

Thornton said he felt the weeks practice helped fuel the teams success.

The guys really raced well this week, and that did not surprise me given what they had done during the week in training, Thornton said.

With Saturdays victory, the Oles seem primed for a strong run at this years MIAC Championships to be held at the end of October. The teams recent performance also has Lamppa contemplating a possible trip to the Division III National Championship meet on Nov. 20.

Weve beaten a lot of teams that are ranked ahead of us in the polls already this season, Lamppa said. Basically, we know we can compete with anybody in our conference or region.

St. Olaf will be taking this weekend off as they prepare for their next meet, the Jim Drews Invitational.

The race will be held Oct. 16 just across the border in LaCrosse, Wis., and is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.

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