Gustavus women’s cross country placed fifth with 155 points at the MIAC Cross Country Championships held at Como Park Golf Course on Saturday, Nov. 2. Carleton took first place with 51 points; followed by St. Olaf, St. Benedict, and Macalester. Junior Caitlin Fermoyle and Senior Rebecca Hare had All-Conference performances, finishing twelfth and thirteenth, respectively.
After winning the conference championship last season, the women’s team has high goals set for the end of the season. Though the Gusties fell short of reaching their goal to place in the top three at the conference meet, the team has still had a solid season according to Men and Women’s Cross Country Coach Dale Bahr.
“The season has been going well. Last year, being the conference champions, obviously people know we’re a decent team, even though we graduated some very significant individuals. So when we get beat by other MIAC teams they let us know it,” Bahr said.
The MIAC traditionally has several strong cross country teams, making the conference meet the one that the Gusties specifically look forward to and emphasize throughout their season.
“Recently, five schools have been consistently in the top five: St. Olaf, Carleton, Gustavus, St. Thomas, and St. Ben’s. The conference champion seems to change a lot, and within that, the top five seems to change quite a bit as well,” Bahr said.
Because of the tight playing field between teams, Gustavus was not disappointed with the fifth place finish.
“I wouldn’t say we were disappointed, but maybe a little bit. It’s always kind of a bummer when you don’t do as well as you wanted to. But, I think overall everybody put it all out there, and worked hard, and ran for the team,” Junior Kayte Cole said.
Earlier in the season, the team finished in second place of six teams at the St. John’s Invitational on Sept. 7. At the St. Olaf Invitational on Sept. 21, the team finished sixth of 15 teams. The Blugold Invitational was held on Oct. 4, where the team took tenth of 25 teams. The Tori Neubauer Invitational was the final meet the team competed in before the conference meet, placing 13 of 30 teams, on Oct. 19.
This season, the team made a point of focusing on the little things that would contribute to their success for this season and seasons to come.
“They are committed to being the best they can be. They work hard. On our days off, they’re still out running. Some even go three or four months without a day off,” Bahr said.
In addition to consistent training, the team emphasizes cross training and maintaining a healthy diet.
“We do all the little things that count. Everybody has bought into believing in a strength program. We’ve actually seen a big change in what they’re doing diet wise. The more information we’re giving them, they’re using it and trying to become the complete package,” Bahr said.
The team is also devoted to maintaining a great team dynamic. Fermoyle believes simply running for the team has contributed to her individual success.
“We run together every day in practice, I mean it’s just not the same to do a workout by yourself. You have to run for each other. It is a sport where you’re running your own individual race, so it’s a little bit different, but I think it’s a completely different thing to be running for individual success, than to have your teammates with you and know that everyone is working for the same thing,” Fermoyle said.
With the NCAA Central Region Championships being held at St. Olaf on Nov. 16, the season is not over yet. The top seven Gustavus runners will compete against teams from around the Midwest for a chance to qualify for Nationals.