Men's cross country takes eighth place at home meet
By Meredith Fahrner Staff Writer
Friday, October 18, 2002
The mens cross country team was one of many that competed at the NCAA Division III Pre-Nationals this past Saturday behind the Tostrud Center. Twenty colleges across the nation, including Ithaca, College of New Jersey and Emory University, brought their top runners to compete on the 8,000 kilometer course that will be used for Division III Nationals this coming November. Because this weekends team scores have no bearing on whether a team qualifies for nationals or not, many teams use this opportunity to familiarize their runners with the layout of the course and see how their team stacks up against others. Being at home meant the St. Olaf men needed no familiarization; they were running only to see how they compared to other teams. Sophomore Kelley Fulton was the top Ole runner, finishing 22nd in the field of 327 runners and clocking a time of 26:56. He thought the course on Saturday was "the bomb" because the muddy trail conditions made it "the closest thing youll ever get to true cross country." Rob Hillard 03 and Malcolm Richards 05 were close behind Fulton, placing 38th and 41st, respectively. Hillard covered the distance in 27:17 and Fulton was only two seconds behind, finishing in 27:19. Peder Arnseon, Christopher Coffey, Mark Sullivan and Joel Tortomasi rounded out the top seven Ole Varsity spots. Jason Havey 06 was the eighth runner on Saturday with a finish time of 28:56. He noted that "individually the race was a good experience for me. It was my first Pre-National meet I raced fine, but Im still learning the ways of college running. Its very different from high school." One of these differences is the emphasis placed on the concept of "pack" running. Cross country scoring is based on the finish places of the top five runners, and better scores are achieved when these five are very close together. This year , packing ability has not been as strong as in the past; Fulton and others know they "need to work on packing up more". On the other hand, competing on the home turf got rave reviews. It gave them the additional advantage of eliminating traveling, sleeping in a hotel room and running on an unfamiliar course. Havey points out that "because we have been training on the course every week, we know how to use it to our advantage." Fulton thought it was great to be able to "roll out of bed at 9:00 in the morning and walk down to Pre-Nationals." When the final results were announced, the St. Olaf men accumulated 204 points, earning them an eighth place finish and allowing them to beat 25th-ranked Emory University by a solid 39-point margin. Unfortunately, rival Carleton barely beat the men and placed seventh. It was the first time the varsity squads have met this year and despite the loss, Havey says, "losing to the Carls provides much incentive to beat them next time." Count on this to encourage the team to continue training diligently for this weekends Jim Drews Invitational in La Crosse, Wisc. and the following weekends MIAC Championships.