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ISSUE 118 VOL 7 PUBLISHED 11/5/2004

Greener pastures ahead

By Dane Hamann
Contributing Writer

Friday, November 5, 2004

Como Golf Course in St. Paul played host to 12 womens cross country teams for the MIAC conference championships this past weekend. The St. Olaf women once again proved they are a force to be reckoned with, charging their way to a fourth place finish.

Carleton took first with 77 points, while defending-champions Gus-tavus took second place with 100 points. St. Thomas was the other team to finish ahead of the Oles with 104 points. St. Olafs point total was 123 with an average time of 20:21 for the six-kilometer course. The Oles ran well in a pack again with a spread of 1:13 between runners.

The Oles received great runs from their scoring top five. Erin Weier 07 was the fastest Ole of the day. She finished fifth overall with a time of 19:37.

Kezia Manlove 06 was the next Ole to cross the line with a time of 20:19.8, good for 21st place. Stephanie Block 07 ran well to take 27th place in 20:29, and Jenny Ingebritsen 06 finished on Blocks heels in 29th place with a time of 20:32. First year Lisa Skildum rounded out the scoring places for the Oles with a time of 20:50, earning 41st place overall.

The conditions for the day were not the best for any team, as all the runners had to deal with severe wind. Running into the wind cost every participant precious energy. The course was also very muddy due to heavy rain during the week. One of the few positive aspects of the inclement weather was the ideal 52-degree temperature, which prevented overheating.

The weather was terrible and we had poor footing so everyone kept slipping, Ingebritsen said.

The already soggy course was even more treacherous because the men ran first. The womens course followed much of the same path as the mens course, so there was little the runners could do to gain better footing. Other Ole athletes agreed the weather played a big role in the outcome of the race.

The conditions were not that great, Manlove said. They favored the stronger, more experienced runners. That forced all our front runners, who are all pretty young, to push themselves harder.

Despite the difficult conditions on a course they had not yet run on this year, several first-year Oles rose to the challenge. After Skildums 41st place finish, Casey Baustian 08 and Jennie Hedburg 08 finished close together for 44th and 46th places, respectively. As evident from the close finishing places amongst the team, the Oles had another great race due to their superior pack running skills.

The Oles are aleady realizing their potential for next years conference meet because of the performances of their younger runners.

We arent graduating any of our top runners, so we have a great chance next year, said Manlove.

However, this years season is not over quite yet. The junior varsity team still runs against Carletons junior varsity squad in the Great Karhu Shoe Race. That race will begin today at 4 p.m.

The varsity will then travel to Waverly, Iowa, Nov. 13 for the NCAA Central Regional Championship meet.

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