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ISSUE 118 VOL 4 PUBLISHED 10/8/2004

No rain on their parade

By Mike Drinane
Contributing Writer

Friday, October 8, 2004

Coming off an exceptional team effort at the Roy Griak Invitational just a week earlier, the St Olaf womens cross country team turned in another solid performance Friday at the NCAA Pre-Nationals race in Colfax, Wis. The women fought their way through a field of 22 elite teams to a fifth place finish.

Despite the teams impressive results, most participants reflected upon the weather, which seemed more appropriate for Nov. 1 rather than Oct. 1. Although the meet was held at a golf course, the conditions were certainly not conducive to outdoor sport.

St. Olaf runners endured inclement weather, battling the elements as well as stiff competition throughout the six-kilometer race. With temperatures in the mid-40s, torrential rain and gusting winds, the weather offered a challenge the women had not yet confronted this season.

While some runners didnt seem to mind the weather, most were adversely affected.

The weather was bad beyond everything reasonable, Sarah Estill 06 said.

Lisa Skildum, 08, who finished 46th overall and third on the team, had a slightly different perspective.

It was so cold, so I ran fast just to put my pants back on, she said.

Skildum wasnt the only Ole who came through with an exceptional race. Erin Weier 07 had a standout performance, placing 18th overall and first for the Oles with a time of 23:20. Only 14 seconds behind Weier was Stephanie Block 07, who finished 27th overall. Skildum worked in tandem with teammate Kezia Manlove 06 throughout the race. Manlove finished slightly under two seconds behind her for fourth place on the team and 47th overall.

Several other Oles tunred in solid times, indicative of the teams depth. Rounding out the top seven for the Oles were Siri Lohmann 08, April Graves 05, and Jennie Hedberg 08, all of whom finished within one minute of Weier.

Although the team came in one spot behind conference rival Macalester, they did defeat conference notables St. Thomas (ranked 23rd nationally) and 2003 MIAC champion Gustavus. Conference competition should only intensify as the MIAC Championship Meet approaches.

Weier and Block are each considered possible contenders for a place in the national meet, and both are expected to achieve all-MIAC recognition. Despite the plethora of individual laurels accrued by Ole runners this year, Weier says the team remains focused on their collective goals.

It would be great to get all-conference, Weier said. But were after team success. We want to go to Nationals as a team.

Beginning to rebound from an epidemic of early season injuries, the womens team is coming together nicely as the season progresses and appears ready to make a strong push into their championship season.

The team is just beginning to come together, Weier said. As we move toward the more important meets, well run better in a pack. That should help us to improve both our individual times and our team score.

The St. Olaf women will compete this Saturday in Waverly, Iowa at the Dan Huston Invitational.

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