The Gustavus cross country teams travelled south of the border this past weekend to Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa for the Dan Huston Invitational.
The men entered the meet ranked number seven in the Central Region, and the women’s strong start to the season has earned them the number five ranking in the Central Region.
Both squads took fifth place, the men in a field of 17 teams and the women in a field of 13 teams.
Sophomore Andrew Stumbo lead the way for the men, taking 23rd place with a time of 26:59:7. Garet Grant crossed the finish line shortly after in 34th place with a time of 27:22:2.
Jeremy Gilbertson, Ben Wicklund and Nick Kerbeshian finished in quick succession and rounded out the top five for the Gusties, finishing in 44th, 45th and 51st, respectively, with times of 27:37.7, 27:38.3 and 27:41.3.
The men ran eighth kilometers during their race, and at the Gustie pace in this last meet each runner knocked out almost five miles at a blazing pace of around 5:30 per mile.
For the women, Senior Tierney Winter lead the way and continued her strong season with a 12th place finish in a time of 24:01:1.
Junior Kourtney Kulseth ran well for the Gusties, finishing in 32nd place with a time of 24:33:4. A trio of strong sophomores rounded out the scoring for Gustavus, as Illiana Ramon, Mackinzee Miest and Lily Engebretson finished in 41st, 55th and 58th, respectively, with times of 24:50:8, 25:13:6 and 25:20:7.
The women run 6 kilometers during their race, and the Gustie pace for this meet saw each runner churning through over 3.5 miles at an impressive pace of about 6:30 per mile.
However, the times for each runner in this meet were at least 20-30 seconds slower than the last meet due to the course conditions.
Wartburg is a perennial power in cross country and finished first overall in the men’s race and second overall in the women’s race.
Reflecting this success, the course that this race is run on is elite, being specifically designed for cross country races, and it is the site of the NCAA Central Region Meet later this November.
This past Saturday, inclement weather wreaked havoc on the usually well-manicured greens and trails.
“A lightning delay pushed the start times back, mud covered stretches on the course, and it was cold, windy, and rainy throughout both races,” Head Coach Brenden Huber said. “That being said, I thought we competed great. Times were slow, which we knew would happen, but we talked prior to the race about competing our best.”
Senior runner Samuel Abegglan echoed the sentiments of his coach.
“Our team had a great effort this past Saturday, but our times didn’t reflect this due to the poor conditions. It’s hard to maintain a good, steady pace when there’s a foot of water in some places and mud all over. Despite that, it was kind of fun to run in that gritty environment,” Abegglan said.
“Everyone stepped up to the challenge and didn’t let the conditions influence their efforts. We had Gusties executing wonderfully on both sides against a really deep field.
I think we took another step forward today and gained confidence for the next step. I am really happy with our efforts,” Huber said.
The Gusties will run again on October 19 when they head to UW-La Crosse.
After that, the focus shifts to the MIAC Championships Nov.2.