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ISSUE 120 VOL 6 PUBLISHED 11/3/2006

Men 6th, women 3rd at MIACs: Swanson leads men; Weier, Block carry women

By Jean Mullins
Executive Editor

Friday, November 3, 2006

The St. Olaf cross country runners made their annual showing at the MIAC championships Saturday in St. Paul, and while the women performed well to place third, the men experienced a frustrating end to their frustrating season with a sixth place finish.

Top men’s finishers David Swanson ’'08 (20th, 27:00), David Green ’'09 (25th, 27:05), and Cullen O’Neill ’'09 (28th, 27:25) led the Ole men. Seniors Andrew Petz (42nd, 27:47), John Lamppa (55th, 28:34) and Tony Hoff (57th, 28:39) and first year Jacob Marotz (59th, 28:45) finished out the top seven and will probably be the runners at Regionals Nov. 11 at St. Olaf. Head Coach Bill Thornton explains that the season has been plagued by injuries and health problems.

“It’s been a terribly, terribly frustrating season,” Thornton said. “It was Murphy’s law, everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.”

Thornton explained that the runners going to Regionals will depend on who is healthy and able to run. Unfortunately, Thornton explained, the team does not have much depth.

The men’s team was disappointed with their loss, especially after starting the season with higher hopes for a strong finish.

“Sixth place was definitely a big disappointment for us,” said senior captain Tony Hoff. “The team takes a lot of pride in usually being one of the top squads in the MIAC.”

The women’s team performed well, with most of its top runners finishing well. Seniors Erin Weier and Stephanie Block finished 12th (23:51) and 14th (23:53) respectively and Jenna Carlson ’'09 finished 22nd (24:09). Head coach Chris Daymont explained that while the team was grateful for their strong finish, “we did it the hard way.” Daymont said the team started the race strong and began to fade around the second mile. “We should have been sixth or seventh at the second mile,” Daymont said.

The Oles bounced back in the last 1,000 meters.

Daymont said the finish at the MIAC championships has left the Oles with high hopes for a top five finish at the Regional meet Nov. 11 at St. Olaf, but warns that the region has many good teams. Most of the top seven runners from St. Olaf in the MIAC meet will run at the Regional meet, with the addition of Brittney Schwager ’'07, who had a bad race at MIAC. Adding to the hopes, the team is currently ranked 34th nationally and believes it has a good shot of making it to NCAA Nationals meet Nov. 18 in Wilmington, Ohio.

Senior captain Andrea Gelle said of placing third, “It puts us in a great position going into the Regional meet where we look to use our home-course advantage.”

Daymont also praised the depth of the team as all the top 16 runners are close and have performed consistently.

Daymont has high hopes for the returning team next season, but laments the loss of the senior leadership. “They are a big part of the team,” Daymont said. “That’s what we will miss most.”

Both the men’s and women’s team raced at Carleton in the annual Karhu Shoe race Thursday, a more relaxed, fun race than other competitions. “It is a lot of fun,” said Thornton.

The women’s team in particular will be racing for a pair of Karhu shoes once worn by retired Professor of English and former assistant women’s coach David Wee.

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