As the season has progressed for the Gustavus Men’s and Women’s Cross Country teams, one thing has stayed the same; an extremely strong, tight-knit bond shared throughout the entirety of the team. Team dynamic has been one of the biggest factors for the Gustavus runners this season. This strong comradery is exemplified by many leaders on the team.
“The season is going very well, and the team dynamic is great. We didn’t lose many seniors, but for some reason, the team seems so different this year. We know we are much better than last year, and I think that has just been our fuel to run and train so well, which in turn makes us much closer as a group,” Senior Olivia Rosenow said. Rosenow, along with Senior Olivia Crocker are the two female captains on the team. Both are enjoying leading the team in their final year here at Gustavus.
“It’s been really fun to be a captain this year. It’s not much different honestly from how I’ve felt in the past. I’m just aware that I have a larger role to play in motivating the ladies, maintaining a positive attitude, and making sure that we’re all on the same page. My main objective is to make sure that everyone feels validated and understands their role in contributing to the team, because we just race so much better when we’re a cohesive unit and can race for one another instead of just as individuals,” Crocker said. As for the men, their team is captained by Junior Alex Wischnack and Senior Ryley Sandberg. As a captain, Wischnack feels the team is in a very good place, describing the team dynamic as “dynamite.”
“Our season has been going super well so far. We are a young team and that’s obvious when we race, but we have been racing in packs to help each other out during the races. It helps that the team dynamic is dynamite right now,” Wischnack said. Being only a junior, Wischnack went on to comment about the transition into next year.
“The season is going very well, and the team dynamic is great.” — Olivia Rosenow
“I think the transition to next year should be relatively smooth. We have a bunch of juniors and sophomores stepping up already, and we only graduate three seniors. The team culture is trending in the right direction, and I think the excitement will translate to next year, as well. We are a young team, so the sky is the limit,” Wischnack said. However, before the non-seniors can begin to think about next year, they have much left to focus on this fall, along with the seniors who are in their final year of running. One of the largest upcoming meets that the team has their sights set on is the MIAC Conference meet taking place at the end of the month.
“We have very high expectations for our conference meet at the end of October, so I’m looking forward to seeing us continue to race fast and gain more confidence,” Crocker said. The women’s team has experienced a lot of success this season, especially in their past two meets, where they finished third out of 12 at Carleton and eighth out of a field of 23 teams at St. Olaf.
“Going in to the season, I don’t think we expected to be where we are at right now. Our training has gone exceptionally well, and in the beginning, we were hoping to scrape into the top five at conference. After these last two meets, we will be most likely be competing with Bethel and St. Thomas to battle it out between places 3-5. We have been competing with these teams, almost beating Bethel at St. Olaf and being right behind St. Thomas at Carleton, so we know we can race with them come conference time. I can’t wait to see what we can do at conference and regions,” Rosenow said. The men’s team is focusing on the upcoming conference meet, as well. The men may have a bit of an uphill battle, but are still looking forward to competing against great conference competition.
“Conference will be a tough meet. The top two teams are pretty distinct. However, the third spot is wide open. St. Thomas, St. Johns, Bethel, Macalaster, and GAC will all be pushing hard for that spot,” Wischnack said.
As the conference meet gets closer, the team continues to rely on each other to keep the team dynamic and bond as strong as ever. The runners’ close friendships and comradery will only help as the end of the season draws near.