It is hard to believe that the St. Olaf cross country teams could outshine their dominant 2012 conference performances. Yet on Saturday, Nov. 2 at the MIAC Championships, they rose to a whole new level, proving once again they are among the strongest teams in the conference.
The St. Olaf men’s team completely overwhelmed their opposition on the Como Golf Course. For the second year in a row, the men brought home the first place title in both team and individual scores.
With a team score of 20, St. Olaf beat the second place Carleton College. The Carls finished with a total 81 points, followed not so closely by University of St. Thomas with 104 points. In addition to a team victory, the Oles also had six top ten finishers.
Grant Wintheiser ’15 won his second MIAC title with a finishing time of 24:48.9 in the 8K. He improved on his 2012 performance by nearly 20 seconds.
It was the Oles’ team depth, though, that led them to defeat the second place Carls by 61 points. Jake Brown ’15, Brian Saksa ’14, Jake Campbell ’16, Phillip Meyer ’15 and Dillon Davis ’14 all finished in the top-ten, with Paul Escher ’16 finishing 16th to complete the Ole score card. The averaged team time for the Ole men was nearly a minute faster than that for any other team.
The St. Olaf women finished second in the conference for the second year in a row. They were just edged out of first place by cross-town rivals Carleton College. Carleton finished with 51 points, and the Oles finished with 69.
The Ole women also had several impressive individual finishes. Noelle Olson ’17 finished in first place with a 6K time of 21:49.5. Fellow Ole Jordan Johnson ’15 followed her over the line nearly 20 seconds later. Both Olson and Johnson will receive MIAC All-Conference titles, and teammate Michaela Banz ’15 will receive a MIAC All-Conference Honorable Mention for her 16th place finish.
Both the men and women’s teams will run at home on Nov. 16 in the NCAA Division III Central Region Championships, seeking to qualify for NCAA Championships the following week.