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Runners look ahead to NCAA Regionals

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On Saturday, Oct. 27, St. Olaf welcomed runners from across the state to compete in the MIAC Championships on the St. Olaf cross country trails. Carleton came out on top in both the women’s and men’s races, with the St. Olaf team finishing  third in the women’s race and second in the men’s race. Both races were highly competitive, given the presence of many nationally ranked teams.

The first St. Olaf women’s runner to finish was Lisa Fisher ’20. She crossed the finish line 19 seconds behind the winner, finishing in fourth place. Fisher was closely followed by Bryony Hagwood ’20, who finished in sixth, two seconds behind Fisher. Since both finished in the top 15, they earned all-MIAC honors. The other scoring members of the St. Olaf team were Meredith Moore ’20, Lauren Markowski ’21 and Lauren Herland ’19. These placements gave the team a third place finish with a score of 106. Meanwhile, Carleton won the race with a score of 32, followed by St. Thomas with a score of 79.

In the second race, Carleton runner Lucas Mueller took down the field. The 16th-ranked St. Olaf men’s team finished with a score of 43, 10 points behind Carleton. St. Thomas rounded out the top three with a team score of 66. William Anderson ’19 led the Oles by finishing in fifth. He finished the race with a time of 25:49. After Anderson, Thomas Lerdall ’20 crossed the finish line in seventh (25:51). The team’s scoring was rounded out by Elliot Kadrofske ’20 in ninth, Andrew Plumb ’19 in 10th, and Sam Primozich ’21 in 12th. By finishing in the top 15, all five scoring runners earned all-MIAC honors. Furthermore, Chris Brenck ’20 and Jonah Herzog ’21 earned all-MIAC honorable mentions.

The team had hoped to win the conference meet this year, but despite finishing second, the team is optimistic going forward.

“We all think the team performed well,” Jack Henschel ’20 said. “However, our top guys have their focus set on the regional and national meets, which may have reflected in the results. I think you will see that we will perform at our best in these upcoming meets.”

Carleton and St. Olaf are much stronger than the other teams in the MIAC, which turned the race into more of a duel between the two.

“This composition favored Carleton, as they are a top heavy team,” Henschel said. “However, our depth should allow us to beat them in the next few meets.”

The junior varsity teams are back in action at Carleton on Thursday. Furthermore, the varsity teams will continue to prepare for the NCAA Central Regional meet, which will be hosted by Wartburg College and take place on November 10 in Waverly, Iowa. If the teams finish in the top two places at the meet, they will automatically qualify for the national meet. Even if they finish outside of the top two, they could still get an invitation to nationals considering they are both nationally ranked. If they do qualify, the national meet will be held on November 17 in Oshkosh, Wis.

The Manitou Messenger had the opportunity to interview runner Jena Hauch ’21 regarding the last leg of the team’s fall season.

Q: What did you think of the conference race and how the team performed on its home course?

A: “Overall I think the team did really well. We knew Carleton was going to be tough to beat and that it was going to be a close race between us and St. Thomas for second. We also had a lot of seniors who had really great races to end their cross country career which was really exciting.”

Q: How will you and the team prepare for regionals?

A: “We know that the course is flat and fast, so our harder workouts will try to mimic those conditions so that we know exactly what to expect in the race. Other than that, we will continue with our normal routine while also resting up a little bit so that our bodies are ready to race fast in two weeks.”

Q: What are your goals for individuals and the team competing at regionals and possibly nationals?

A: “As a team, we just want everyone competing to race to their fullest ability to be happy with how the season ends. Our number one goal is to get as many people to the national meet as possible, ideally as a whole team, to continue our program’s legacy of strong national meet performances. With these goals, we have our sights set on finishing as one of the top two teams in the region in an attempt to qualify for the national meet. There are opportunities to qualify for nationals at this meet through an at large bid, based on past performances and finishes at large meets that we’ve competed at throughout the season.”