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ISSUE 120 VOL 2 PUBLISHED 9/29/2006

Runner prepare for stretch run

By Shoshanna Blank
Contributing Writer

Friday, September 29, 2006

The Ole women’s cross country team placed 6th out of 32 teams at the Roy Griak Invitation, held annually at the University of Minnesota.

St. Olaf’s top four placers were Erin Weir ’07 (21st), Brittney Schwager ’07 (24th), Jenna Carlson ’09 (33rd), and Stephanie Block ’08 (48th).

“We have a very solid team,” women’s Head Coach Chris Daymont said. “Weier and Schwager are having very strong starts to their seasons. Jackie Kelly ‘08, a transfer student, and Michaela McLaughlin ‘10 have been great additions as well. Senior captain Andrea Gelle is also having an outstanding start to the season.”

After graduating 20 seniors last year, the team needs to learn how to race with each other. Members are working on utilizing each of the runners’ strengths for the betterment of the team.

“We are a pack running team. We need to move the pack forward and race with each other against the competition,” Daymont said.

Both the women’s and men’s cross country teams will be racing at the BluGold Invite in Colfax, Wisc. this Friday. The women’s team also has a race the following day in Chicago.

On the men’s side, The BluGold Invite will be the first race for the squad since its seventh place finish at the St. Olaf Invite Sept. 16. It also marks the first race for senior leader John Lamppa.

“John [Lamppa] always seems to race best early in the season,” Head Coach Bill Thornton said. “The start of his season has been delayed, which hopefully will keep John fresher for the all important championship races at the end.”

The men’s team hopes to do better in the upcoming meets than it did at their home meet.

“This meet traditionally has been considered a ‘starting point’ and a bench mark on which the team will strive to improve,” Thornton said. “We have had several very successful teams that have scored poorly in the St. Olaf Invitational.”

Thornton has stressed the importnace of recognizing the different approaches to races versus practice.

“I hope to see 10 to 12 members of the team ‘race’ instead of ‘run’ at BluGold,” Thornton said. “Finishing in the 80th to 90th percentile is our goal.”

The men’s side of the MAIAC is very competitive this year, with Hamline, St. John’s, Carleton and Macalester racing very well in the early part of the season. “Because of our strong conference, I would be very proud to match last year’s third-place conference finish at the MIAC Champiosnhips,” Thornton said.

Beyond that, Thornton hopes for the team to finish in the top five at the 2006 NCAA Regionals and, if all goes according to plan, be selected to run in the NCAA Championships.

For the women, Daymont is confident that she has a top three team. The women’s team has not been to Nationals for three years, and Daymont speculated that this year could be year to return.

St. Olaf will be hosting the 2006 Regionals, which could play a hand in the runners’ success down the stretch.

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