The Gustavus Men’s and Women’s Cross Country teams competed in the MIAC Championships last weekend in Northfield, MN. Both teams finished in sixth place overall.
The event consists of a 6k race for the women, which translates to roughly 3.7 miles, and an 8k for the men, or just short of five miles.
The women, who finished fourth in the MIAC last year, were led by familiar faces. The consistent leadership and strong running of junior and senior leaders was on full display last weekend.
Seniors Lotus Schifsky and Abbie Schnabel and Juniors Gabriela Passmore and Tierney Winter, as well as Sophomore Kourtney Kulseth and First Year Iliana Ramon have been blazing the trail for the Gusties all season long with strong finishes in each meet.
This weekend it was Tierney Winter leading the way with a strong 21st-place finish in a time of 23:31.9. She was followed closely by Gabriela Passmore, who finished in 31st place with a time of 23:58.7.
Lotus Schifsky and Iliana Ramon were the next Gusties to cross the finish line. After going back and forth throughout the race and always remaining within three seconds of each other, Schifsky finished in 24:02.9 and Ramon finished in 24:03.7. The two finished in 35th and 36th place overall.
Kourtney Kulseth rounded out the top five Gustavus runners with a time of 24:07.0 and a 38th place finish.
“We ended up being four points out of fourth today, so we were right there. Our girls went out and competed hard and stuck together, and it was a lot of fun to see. We just needed our runners to slide up a few more spots, and we would have been right where we wanted to be in the top five,” Head Coach Brendan Huber said of the women’s results.
Abbie Schnabel and Junior Haley Anderson also finished in the top 50, with times of 24:21.1 and 24:21.3, respectively.
Junior Sarah Anderson, Sophomore Josie Blake, and First-years Lily Engebretson and Mackinzee Miest also finished in the top 100 in a race that featured 208 competitors.
“We took our shot today, and it didn’t pan out our way, but the girls competed really hard and loved it,” Huber said.
On the men’s side, Sophomore Andrew Stumbo cruised to a 15th-place finish in a time of 26:21.2. Stumbo’s performance was good for All-Conference honors for the second straight year.
A trio of First-years in Ben Wicklund, Jack Degonda, and Garet Grant were the next three finishers for the Gusties. They finished with times of 27:21.6, 27:26.7, and 27:34.2, respectively. All three finished in the top 50.
“Our freshman were flying today so it was fun to see that we’ve got some good youth coming through our program,” Huber said.
Fellow First-year Noah Johnson wasn’t far behind, and finished in 52nd place with a time of 27:36.7.
Senior Captain Alex Wischnack, who is consistently one of the Gusties’ top three runners, had the 31st fastest time in the first mile of the race, but ended up finishing 70th in a time of 27:59.0.
The Gusties had seven more runners in the top 100, which speaks to the potential of the team moving forward.
“It was really competitive this year. Our guys stuck their nose in it and tried to compete. Today the effort was really awesome, we encouraged some people to stick their nose where it didn’t belong just to see if they could do it and we’re just really happy with how hard they competed,” Coach Huber said of the Gustie Men.
The men’s sixth place finish was an improvement upon their eighth-place finish a year ago.
Both teams will look ahead to the Saint John’s Fall Finale meet on November 2nd and the NCAA Central Region Meet on November 10.