Friday, November 30, 2012

Online Registration for Winter Running Events Opens December 1

Photo by Competitive Image,
courtesy of Twin Cities In Motion
For those of you who plan ahead, registration opens tomorrow morning, December 1, at 8 AM for three local races.  The Medtronic TC Kids Fieldhouse Fun Run(February 2), the Valentine's Day 5K Run/Walk(February 9), and the 100% Irish for a Day TC 5K and TC 10 Mile(March 9). The last two events are presented by Marathon Sports.

To register go to and follow the links to the events you want.  And if you didn't get a chance to wear that Halloween costume you designed, you can always improvise at the Valentine's or Irish run.  Don't know if they have a best costume category, but maybe they should think about it.

High School Stories

Chaska Herald article on Chaska sophomore Joey Duerr and his sixth place finish at the State Meet is HERE.

Chanhassan Villager article on the Holy Family Catholic team's experience at the State Meet is HERE.

Wayzata Sun Sailor articles on the Wayzata girls team from earlier are HERE and HERE.

Sun Thisweek article on Tom Sharp, who adds to his cross country coaching duties by becoming Eastview boys track coach, and brief mention of Eagan's girls team heading out to Portland for NXN is HERE. Story on the Eagan girls runner-up finish at State is HERE and HERE.

Sun Thisweek story on Lakeville North's Taylor Perkins is HERE. Story on the Lakeville South girls at State is HERE. Photos from the State Meet girls race are HERE, boys HERE.

Hassan Mead back on the West Coast

Gopher alum Hassan Mead is back on the West Coast in Eugene, Oregon, training under former UK steepler(1988 Olympic bronze medalist), now coach, Mark Rowland.  Mead is settling in and getting used to his new routine.  Plans are to run the World Cross Country Trials early next year.  An article on Mead is HERE.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

More NXN Preview

Wayzata and Eagan's girls teams will be running  in this weekend's NXN in Portland.  Individual qualifiers include: Richfield's Obsa Ali, Wayzata's Connor Olson, Stillwater's Eric Colvin, as well as Hudson, WI's Ryan Kromer for the boys; Shakopee's Maria Hauger, Blake's Clare Flanagan, and Alexandria's Bethany Hasz for the girls.  Complete listing of team and individual qualifiers is HERE.

Marc Bloom's "Super 25" rankings for boys is HERE, girls HERE.

Another interesting development with the end of year meets is an Ohio high school ruling on "amateur" status and accepting travel expenses for national meets.  Nike pays expenses for those who qualify, but a new interpretation of a high school league rule in Ohio makes that against the rules.  The story is HERE.

North Face 50 Endurance Challenge Championships

Chris Lundstrom is listed among the contenders at this Saturday's North Face 50 Endurance Challenge Championships.  More info HERE.

Minnesota Track & Field Coaches Clinic set for February 2013

The Minnesota Track& Field  Coaches Clinic set for February 1-2 in Bloomington.  Olympians Jeff Hartwig and Amanda Smock among the speakers.  Information on the meeting is HERE.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

News Bits

Belated results from USATF Minnesota XC Championships held on November 10 are HERE.

Preview article for this weekend's Nike Cross Nationals(NXN) is HERE. Shakopee's Maria Hauger and Blake's Clare Flanagan get mentions.

Stillwater Gazette article on Stillwater grads, Tom Linner and Josh Kaul, who helped U of Wisconsin-LaCrosse take fourth in the NCAA Division III Nationals is HERE.

Duluth News Tribune story on St. Scholastica junior Chelsea Johnson is HERE.

Peyton Fifth, Peterson 13th in Turkey Trot 5K

Team USA Minnesota's Meghan Peyton finished fifth in the women's race and Jonathan Peterson was 13th in the men's race at the Applied Materials Silicon Valley Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving in San Jose, California  Peyton ran 16:19 in the race won by Kim Conley in 15:40.  Peterson was timed in 14:19 in the men's race won by Stephen Sambu in 13:28.

The race was the Pacific Association USATF 5K championship. Men's results are HERE.  Women's are HERE.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Trials Marathoner Gacek Designing Jewelry

Olympic Marathon Trials competitor Melissa Gacek is striving for excellence in a new field these days -- she's designing and selling jewelry marketed for runners.

The University of St. Thomas alumnus has partnered with women's running apparel company Oiselle -- also her running sponsor -- to sell a limited edition line of precious metal jewelry for runners.

Gacek and Oiselle are featuring two designs -- the "Fly" Necklace (pictured) and the "Wings Out" PR Necklace.  Both designs come in silver and bronze.

Gacek wore the original version of the "Wings Out" necklace,  designed by her late sister-in-law Alyn Shannon, at the 2008 Olympic Marathon Trials where she ran a PR 2:44:10. 

Proceeds from jewelry sales will benefit the non-profit Healing Haiti, which Shannon founded.

Learn more about Gacek's designs HERE.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Hauger Books Footlocker Finals Return

Shakopee High School's Maria Hauger booked a return trip to the finals of the Footlocker Cross Country Championships in San Diego, Calif. next month with a 3rd-place finish at Saturday's Footlocker Midwest Regional in Kenosha, Wisc.

Hauger (pictured, in orange), who finished 5th at the Midwest Regional a year ago, clocked 17:07 over the challenging 5K course at the University of Wisconsin - Parkside.  Anna Rohrer of Indiana won the race in 16:54; Missouri's Taylor Werner was runner-up, a second ahead of Hauger.

Hauger was the lone Minnesota qualifier for Footlocker Finals.  Cretin-Derham Hall's Kevin Docherty finished 12th in the boys race, running 15:18 for the 5K distance.  The top ten runners in each of four seeded regionls advance to Footlocker Finals on December 8.

Find complete Footlocker Midwest Regional results HERE (girls) and HERE (boys).

Find the Footlocker Cross Country Championships homepage HERE.

Photo courtesy of the Footlocker Cross Country Championships.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving from Down the Backstretch!

Gobble, gobble Down the Backstretch readers!

It's that time of the year again.  The leaves are down, the temperatures (theoretically anyway) are dropping, and running and track-themed websites in Minnesota are turning a perfectly good family holiday into a bitter, winner-take-all contest.

Yep, it's Thanksgiving poll time again!

We again want to know your favorite Thanksgiving comestible.  Just pick one from the poll below, then sit back (with a full stomach, ideally) and wait for official results to be served up.  We'll close the poll at the end of the day Sunday and then name a new Thanksgiving poll champion.

We each have our favorite portion on the plate, and over the years Stuffing (2007, 2008), Mashed Potatoes (2009), and Pumpkin Pie (2010) have won coveted Thanksgiving Championships. (The results of the 2011 poll, alas, were apparently thrown out with the giblets!)  And, while Turkey, the holiday's signature dish, has made strong showings in the contest, cranberries and gravy have had little to be thankful for when it comes to late November.

There’s no clear favorite this year ... some sage observers are picking Stuffing, others think Turkey will be a real animal, and there are even a handful of aliment aficionados who think Gravy might pour it on this year. In the end, of course, it will be you, the DtB readers, who will decide!

So, vote and eat and relax ... and be thankful.  We'll be back with our usual programming on Monday morning.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"Houston, We Have A Problem"

By Jim Ferstle
In the Fall of 1988, Ben Johnson had just been busted in Seoul for steroid use.  A short time afterward a pediatrician in St. Paul had an appointment with a mother and her young son.  The son was a high school wrestler.  "I'd like you to prescribe some stanozolol for my son," the mother said to the doctor, who refused the request.

Not long ago, in another doctor's office in Illinois, a young athlete was also visiting his physician.  "You need to get bigger," the doctor told the boy and his parents.  "I should give your son some Human Growth Hormone."

Yesterday a study in the medical journal Pediatrics concluded that use of steroids, human growth hormone, protein shakes, and other methods advertised as being able to enhance muscularity in individuals were used by more than a third of the middle and high school students who were part of the study done in the Twin Cities.  The number of steroid users in the study was  higher than previously reported in similar surveys such of the self reported use of steroids by both boys and girls, athletes and non-athletes.

"This study did not find significant clustering of muscle enhancing behaviors within schools," the atuthors conluded.  "Rather than being driven by a particular school sports team coach or other features of a school’s social landscape, this diffusion suggests that muscle enhancing behaviors are widespread and influenced by factors beyond school, likely encompassing social and cultural variables such as media messages and social norms of behavior."

While the rate of steroid use was higher among athletes, it was not limited to them.  These conclusions are not unique, nor startling.  They've been reported before in lower numbers, and have the limitation of being from one area of the country and a self reporting survey that relies on the truthfulness and accuracy of the information provided by the subjects, but one would have to have the proverbial "head in the sand" not to understand that athletics and society in general has a drug/"enhancing substances" problem.

The major unanswered question of this latest survey is where are these middle and high school kids getting what are controlled substances, such as steroids, that are illegal to possess or sell without a prescription.  The answer may be in the second example cited of the doctor willing to prescribe HGH to a child that has no growth problem other than to "get bigger" to improve his chances in a sport where size matters. The other most common answer is "on the internet."

One level below the illegal activity, however, is the unregulated "supplement" industry where "prohormones," testosterone boosters, or other products that are advertised as "legal steroids" that may contain actual steroids.  These supplements are a category of substances that the researchers noted as being frequently used by the school kids in an attempt to enhance their muscularity.

In a space mission, whenever something  went wrong the catch phrase: "Houston, we have a problem," became associated with impending disaster or at least imminent danger.  Athletics, we have a problem.  It's not a new one.  As the recent USADA dossier on the systemic doping in cycling illustrated at the highest level of sport an industry has grown up to support doping in sport.

It appears to not yet have filtered down to the middle and high school level, and hopefully never will, but other countries, such as South Africa, have fears about the infiltration of doping into their school sports and are initiating programs to combat it.  The alarm bells are ringing, and hopefully it won't take a disaster the size and scope revealed by the USADA case against Lance Armstrong to stimulate a response.  Prevention is a more effective deterrent in this sort of situation than attempting to find a "cure" after the "disease" has already infected the "patient."

Pediatrics article is available HERE.

Run for the Turkeys

Six Team USA Minnesota athletes – Heather Kampf, Jamie Cheever, McKenzie Melander, Ladia Albertson-Junkans, Andrew Carlson and Chris Rombough - will participate in the Life Time Fitness Turkey Day 5K in downtown Minneapolis on Thanksgiving morning.
Kampf is the 2012 USA 1-Mile Road champion and a seventh place finisher in the 800 meters at the Olympic Track & Field Trials.  Cheever also competed at last summer’s Olympic Trials and was in the steeplechase finals; she was sixth at the 2012 USA Cross Country Championships last February.
Melander and Albertson-Junkans joined Team USA Minnesota this fall.  Melander graduated last spring from the University of Iowa and was the Big Ten Champion in the 5000 meters.  Albertson-Junkans is a 2009 graduate of the University of Minnesota and most recently was eighth at the USA 10-Mile Championships in October.
Carlson, a two-time national champion in the 15K and 25K, was the sixth place finisher at the 2012 US Men’s Olympic Marathon Trials with a debut time of 2:11:24.  Rombough was fourth at the 2012 USA Cross Country Championships last February.
The Turkey Day 5K starts at 8 AM near the Target Center and finishes on First Avenue.  The event is a fun run so no official results will be kept. 
Silicon Valley Turkey Trot 5K
Meghan Peyton and Jon Peterson will be part of a competitive invitational field at the Applied Materials Silicon Valley Turkey Trot 5K in downtown San Jose, CA, on Thanksgiving Day.  The elite women run at 10:00 AM followed by the elite men at 10:30.
Peyton has run 15:41 in the 5000 meters and was fourth at the 2010 USA 5K Championships and fifth at the 2011 USA 5K Championships.  Most recently she finished ninth at the USA 10-Mile Championships.
Peterson, who joined Team USA Minnesota in August, has a best of 13:41 in the 5000 meters.  In his professional road debut in October, he placed 12th at the USA 10-Mile Championships.

Monday, November 19, 2012

USATF MN Athletes of the Month for October/November

The Minnesota Association of USA Track & Field named Maria Hauger and Wayde Hall are USATF Minnesota's Athletes of the Month for November 2012.
Hauger, a senior at Shakopee High School, is honored for winning an unprecedented fourth-straight Class AA girls' cross country title at the HSHSL State Meet in Northfield earlier this month. Hauger ran the 4K course in 13 minutes, 42 seconds.
Hall, a senior at Stillwater High School, is recognized for winning the boys' Class AA individual cross country title and pacing the Ponies to a team crown. Hall clocked 15:21 on the boys' 5K course.

October 2012
Linda Keller and Ben Sathre are USATF Minnesota's Athletes of the Month for October 2012.
Keller, a senior at the University of Minnesota - Morris, is honored for winning the Women's Maroon III division at the Roy Griak Invitational Cross Country Meet in Falcon Heights in September. Keller topped a strong NCAA Division III field, running 21 minutes, 49 seconds over the 6K course.
Sathre, a former University of St. Thomas star, is recognized for winning the City of Lakes 25K in September and setting a new state single-age record at the distance for 22-year-old runners. Sathre clocked 1:18:47 on the Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet course.

More Odds and Ends

Minnesota Daily report on the Gopher women's 22nd place finish at NCAAs is HERE, pre-meet coverage is HERE.

Duluth News Tribune report on the JFK 50-mile is HERE.

Pre-NCAA, post-regional Minnesota Morris SID video interview with Linda Keller is HERE

Obit for Joe Schletty, an unlikely marathoner, who, until this year had run in every Twin Cities Marathon is HERE.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

High School "Odds and Ends"

Stillwater Gazette report on the Ponies NXN meet experience is HERE.

Sun Sailor report on Hopkins' Joe Klecker is HERE.

Sun Sailor story on the Wayzata girls' team triumph at the State Meet is HERE.

Edina Sun Current reports on Edina girls team at State is HERE, boys HERE.

NCAA Summaries

University of Minnesota SID report on the Gopher women at NCAAs is HERE.
St Olaf SID report on the Ole men and women at NCAAs is HERE and HERE.
U Mary SID report on the NCAAs is HERE.
Gustavus SID report on the women's results at the NCAAs is HERE.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Gopher Women Finish 22nd in NCAA Division I Race

The University of Minnesota women placed 22nd in the NCAA Division I Championships in Louisville, KY Saturday.  Oregon won the team title.  Top Gopher finisher was sophomore Molly Kayfes in 78th in 20:37.6.  Iowa State senior Betsy Saina won the individual title in 19:27.9.  Full results are HERE.

Winona State Women Finish Ninth, U-Mary 13th, MSM Men Finish 20th at NCAA Division II Championships

Senior Kayla Gudmundson led the Winona State women to a ninth place team finish in the NCAA Division II XC Championships in Joplin, MO on Saturday.  U-Mary finished 13th as their top runner Melissa Agnew finished seventh in 20:29.9.  The Minnesota State Mankato men were 20th in the men's race. Full women's results are HERE. Full men's results are HERE.

Wintheiser Third, St Olaf Men 14th in NCAA Division III; Emma Lee Takes Fifth to Lead Ole Women to 8th Place in Team Race

St Olaf's Grant Wintheiser finished third to lead the St Olaf men to a 14th place finish in the NCAA Division III championships in Terre Haute, IN on Saturday.  University of Wisconsin Stout's Tim Nelson won the individual title in 24:26.8, Allegeny's Bobby Over was second in 24:34.8, Wintheiser finished in 24:35.7.  Full men's results are HERE.  .

St. Olaf senior Emma Lee ran 21:19.6, 27 second behind the winner senior Christy Cazolla(20:53.3) of  the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.  MIAC champion Taylor Berg of St. Thomas was eighth in 21:23.8.  University of Minnesota Morris Linda Keller(21:32.6)senior finished 18th.   Carlton finished 17th and Gustavus 21st in the team race.  Full Women's results are HERE.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Huss Overcomes Obstacles

Strib story on Chris Huss and the things he's overcome is HERE,  KARE 11 video report is HERE.

News from Up North

Duluth News Tribune has named Proctor's Matt Welch and Esko's Marisa Shady Prep XC runners of the year.  DNT story is HERE.

A DNT news brief on St. Scholastica junior Chelsea Johnson, who will be running in the NCAA Divsion III Championships on Saturday, having qualified by finishing third in the Region meet last weekend is HERE.

DNT brief on opening of registration for Fitger's 5K is HERE.

Gopher Women Hoping to Finish Strong

The University of Minnesota's women's team  will compete in their eighth straight NCAA Division I Cross Country Championship this weekend. They hope to end Gary Wilson’s final season as head coach on a high note.

Minnesota finished 27th at last year’s national meet. The team has five members with NCAA Championship experience and is ranked 25th in the final USTFCCCA poll. Assistant coach Sarah Hesser said that Gophers are predictedd to finish somewhere in the second half of the field.

“On a great day, I think we could be in the high teens,” she said. “On an average day, we should be in the mid-20s, I would guess. …But the way the national meet works, it’s just so hard to predict. Every team that’s there is really, really good.”

Minnesota brings positive momentum into the race after a close third-place finish at the Midwest Region meet.“I think we ran the best team race of our season at regionals,” Hesser said.

As they have the whole fall, the Gophers will keep trying to get even better. The runners have said continually that they were not completely satisfied with their performances. “I think it shows how much we know what we can do, and how high our expectations are,” junior Ashlie Decker said of that mentality.

Video interview with Hesser is HERE.

Strib interview with Gary Wilson is HERE.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Keller, Wintheiser, Lundin Awarded USTFCCCA Central Region Honors

University of Minnesota Morris senior Linda Keller and St. Olaf sophomore Grant Wintheiser were named the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Central Region female and male athletes of the year for 2012, and the Ole's Phil Lundin was named the Region's coach of the year. 
Wintheiser, from Sartell, MN, won the Central Region race by nearly ten seconds in leading the Oles to the team title. He won the MIAC crown by more than 20 seconds where St. Olaf also picked up the team title, and he finished third at both the Roy Griak Invitational and Jim Drews Invitational. 

Keller, a senior from Hawick, MN won the Central region in 21:31 – five seconds ahead of Wartburg’s Alana Enabnit. She’s undefeated in five races this season, picking up crowns at the UMAC meet and the Roy Griak Invitational among others.

The St. Olaf men captured both the MIAC and Central Region Championships in 2012. Lundin, in his fifth season, leads the 17th-ranked Oles into the NCAA Championships on Saturday in Terre Haute, IN. 

Belated NCAA Division II Regions Report

Sincere apologies to all the NCAA Division II teams.  Their Region Championships were totally off my radar for last weekend.  Shouldn't have been, just were.  Below is the report we should have done earlier in the week.

Winona State(108 points) women's team continued their record setting year by placing second in the NCAA Regional Championships in Joplin, MO last Saturday to earn a spot in the NCAA Division II finals also in Joplin. University of Mary(149) finished third advancing to the Nationals as the top five women's teams in the Region were selected. The Mankato State men also qualified for Nationals with a third place finish as the top four men's teams from the Region advanced.

Full women's results are HERE.  Full men's results are HERE. Winona Daily News story on the women's team is HERE.

Minnesota State Mankato(193) finished seventh in the Regional meet, followed by the University of Minnesota-Duluth(222) in eighth, Minnesota State University-Moorhead(446) was 18th, Southwest Minnesota State(814) was 26th.  The top team in the Region, defending national champion Augustana packed their top five in the top 11 finishers to score 29 points.

As they have all year, U-Mary seniors Melissa Agnew(20:48.9, second) and Dakota Wolf(21:00.3, fourth) led the way with senior Alicia Nehl(21:52.9, 15th) not far behind in the 6K race(KUMV-TV report on team is HERE).  Winona State packed their top five runners in the top 41 with the top four  in the top 30. Sophomore Jessica Young(21:24.8, WDN story HERE) led the way for Winona in eighth, followed by sophomore Jordan Skelly (21:52.2) in 14th, senior Kayla Gudmundson(21:59.5) in 20th, senior Megan Snyder(22:17.4) in 29th. Sophomore Chelsea Schrubbe(22:34) finished 44th,  freshman Jordan Paschke(22:34) was 45th, and freshman Kim Truedson was 85th..

The Mankato State men return to the National meet for the first time since 2008 when they finished eighth.  Their team was also led by underclassmen as sophomore Josiah Swanson(30:30.9) finished sixth in the 10K Region race.  He was followed by senior Garrett Eklof(30:47.9) in 15th, junior Josh Mellman(30:59.7) in 23rd, junior Jacob Ball(31:28) in 42nd, senior Jacob Bastyr(31:57.9), and sophomore Matthew Stocker(31:59.8) in 64th.  A summary of the team's results this season is HERE.

Augustana swept the team titles as their men's team scored 31 points, followed by Missouri Southern(98), and MS Mankato(108).  The University of Minnesota Duluth men(315) finished 12th,  MSU-Moorhead(322) was 13th, Winona State(444) 16th and Concordia-St Paul(662) 22nd.

It has been a year of firsts for the Winona State Warrior women.  They have a new coach, Adam Boothe(WDN story HERE), After the Region Meet they were ranked tenth in the USTFCCCA poll, the first top ten national ranking in the school's history.  Young set a new school record in the Region meet while the team had the fastest team time in the school's history at that meet.

Of the 20 members on the team 15 are either freshman or sophomores with just two seniors on the squad.  The Warrior women have run 13 of the school's best 25 times during the 2012 season. Kayla Gudmunson became the first Winona State woman to run in the National meet last year.  This year, she's bringing along the rest of the team.

Yes/No: Collegiate XC National Championships

As in years past, the final week of 2012 collegiate cross county is also the final week of Yes/No for the year.  We will celebrate these conclusions with three different Yes/No questions -- all worth one point apiece.  This year, all three meets (Division I, II and III) are all held on the same day - Saturday, November 17th.

The overall standings in Yes/No are very close and the long race will be decided with one final flurry.  There are eight players within three points of the lead who all have a shot to at least share the title.  The current standings look like this:

Heather Jelen - 27
Mike Henderson - 26
Jesse Schoen - 26
Gloria Jansen - 25
Mike Mason - 25
Ryan Aylesworth - 24
Evan Roberts - 24
Laura Roach - 24

And the final three questions are... 

Yes/No: Will the University of Minnesota Gophers Women finish in the top 25 (team score) at the Division I National Cross Country Meet?

Yes/No: Will Winona State women finish in the top 10 (team score) at the Division II National Cross Country Meet?

Yes/No: Will the St. Olaf men finish in the top 17 (team score) at the Division III National Cross Country Meet?

The Gopher women are currently ranked twenty-fifth in the nation.  They finished third in the region and received an at-large bid to the National Meet.  This is the eighth consecutive year that the Gophers have qualified for Nationals.  The U of M team also finished fourth at the Big Ten Championship this year and have been led by Laura Docherty and Molly Kayfes this year.

Winona State women are currently ranked tenth in the DII polls.  They finished second in the region behind top-ranked Augustana.  Winona State's top runners at the regional meet were sophomores Jessica Young and Jordan Skelly.

St. Olaf won the MIAC and the Central Region and are ranked sevententh in the current National polls.  They have been led all year by sophomore Grant Wintheiser.

To play our game, simply type "yes" or "no" into the subject line of an e-mail and send it to us at DtBFantasy [AT] gmail [DOT] com before 10:30 A.M. CDT, Saturday, November 17th.  Please put your answers in the subject line of the e-mail and make sure your full name appears somewhere in the e-mail.

My Answer:  Yes, No, Yes

Last week's contest was the final Pick Ten:  The winner of the weekly award was Laura Roach with 46 points followed closely by Jesse Schoen with 44.  The final standings show a tight finish and Mike Henderson emerged victorious with a grand total of 204 points.  The pack chasing him included Jesse Schoen and Rich Cowles at 199 and Toby Hatlevig at 196.

In the four year history of the Pick Ten contest, Mike Henderson has never finished worse than second place at the end of the year.  The former Saint Catherine head coach and current Princeton University Director of Operations wins the Pick Ten title to go with his 2010 crown.

For all the results, please visit DtB Fantasy Corner, HERE.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


The title of this Lifetime Fitness promotion has generated many jokes about the difference between being committed and getting committed, but it is one of those seemingly timely ideas that counts on the fact that a lot of people make New Year's resolutions to improve themselves around the first of the year. We'll see how this one goes.

TwelveTeam USA Minnesota distance runners are participating as seminar speakers in Life Time Run’s free eight-week training program that leads up to the first ever Life Time Fitness Commitment Day 5K on January 1. The athletes will talk about such topics as goal setting, core and strength training, stretching, injury prevention, and race preparation.

The Commitment Day 5K training programs began on November 6 and includes 16 sessions of running and education to prepare participants to run the 5K that will be held on New Year’s Day. The sessions start at 6 PM every Tuesday and Thursday evening leading up to the race. The training program is open to both Life Time Fitness members as well as non-members. Participants can still sign up.

In the Twin Cities, the Commitment Day 5K will take place in downtown Minneapolis beginning at 10 AM on New Year's Day next to the Metrodome. The entry fee is $34 for Life Time Fitness members and $39 for non-members. It is expected to become an annual event dedicated to helping people live a healthy way of life.

The Team USA Minnesota athletes will speak at the following seminar sessions in the Twin Cities:

Nov. 15 – Meghan Peyton and Andrew Carlson at Life Time Fitness Crosstown
Nov. 29 – Heather Kampf and Jon Grey at Life Time Fitness Minnetonka; Gabriele Anderson and Antonio Vega at Life Time Fitness Chanhassen
Dec. 6 – Jon Peterson at Life Time Fitness Savage
Dec. 13 – Chris Rombough at Life Time Fitness Fridley
Dec. 20 – Jamie Cheever at Life Time Fitness Maple Grove; Ladia Albertson-Junkans and Emily Brown at Life Time Fitness St. Louis Park
Dec. 27 – McKenzie Melander at Life Time Fitness Eagan

For more information or to register for the free training program, go to

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

MSHSL Championship Meet Videos

Video coverage of the State High School XC Champs are up on the prep45 site.

2012 Boys Class A State Championship race is HERE.
(Coverage of the Awards Ceremonies for each event follows the race footage.)

Boys Class AA race is HERE.

Girls Class A race is HERE.

Girls Class AA race coverage is HERE.

For the best live viewing experience, Firefox or Safari browsers are recommended.

Short Interview with Grant Winthseiser

grant Winthseiser Interview by jferstle

Monday, November 12, 2012

NIRCA Championship Results

NIRCA Championship results for all six races are HERE.

More on the NCAA Division I Region Race

The Minnesota Daily coverage of the Gopher men and women at the NCAA Region meet is HERE.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Minnesota High School Girls Teams Take One, Two; Boys Run Well at NXN Regionals

Minnesotans dominated the NXN Heartland Regional Championships in Sioux Falls, SD on Sunday. The Wayzata girl's team won the team title and Eagan finished second. MSHSL four-time champion Maria Hauger won the individual title in 17:33.55 for 5K with Class A MSHSL champ Clare Flanagan finishing second in 17:50.53, as seven of the top ten finishers were from Minnesota.

Edina finished third in the boy's team competition, edging Minnesota State Champs Stillwater by four points.  Richfield's Obsa Ali was the top Minnesota finisher, placing third in the 5K race in 15:31.28, 15 seconds behind winner Roy Griak Invitational champ Jake Leingang from Bismark, North Dakota. Five of the top ten boy's race finishers were Minnesotans and Hudson, Wisconsin's Ryan Kromer was fifth.

Full results for all the races are HERE.

NCAA Division III Qualifiers for Championships Announced

As expected the top five women's teams from the Region meet at St Olaf this weekend earned a spot in the National Championships in Terre Haute, IN on November 17.  But only three teams  from the men's field made the final cut, ending fourth place St John's season. A full list of individual and team qualifiers is HERE.

Photo Album from NCAA Division III Regional Championships

A collection of photos from the NCAA Division III Regional Championships at St. Olaf.  
Photos by Jim Ferstle
(note: you can click on the pictures and they should enlarge so that 
everyone isn't the size of a gnat)

The journey begins. The sprint from the starting line.

Near the front of the pack

Middle of the pack

The leaders at about 2K

Women's winner Linda Keller coming up the final hill followed by
runner up Alana Enabit

The fans...

Who still have to eat

Body paint was in this year

Men's winner Grant Wintheiser giving a race recap

NIRCA Nationals Video

A short video summary of the NIRCA National Championship action thus far is HERE.

Gopher Women Awarded At Large Spot for NCAA Division I Championships

 The Gopher women's team is one of 13 teams that earned at-large spots for the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships to be held Saturday, November  17 in Louisville, KY.  This is the eighth consecutive appearance at the NCAA Championships for the University of Minnesota women. 

Full list of men's and women's teams competing at the championships this year is HERE

Saturday, November 10, 2012

St Olaf Men and Women Get Auto Qualifying Spots in NCAA Division III Regional Meet

Linda Keller pulls away from Alana Enabit
as the pair crest the final hill near the finish.
Photo by Jim Ferstle
A day that started out overcast and gloomy, turned sunny as hosts St Olaf eked out a four point victory in the men's NCAA Division III Regional men's Championship 8K, while the women hung on for second in their 6K race to earn both teams automatic qualifying spots for the Championships in Terre Haute, Indiana next weekend. Ole sophomore Grant Wintheiser(25;20.9) broke away from team runner up Central College's Eli Horton(second in 25:30.1) and Cole Decker(third in 25:36.3) in the last half mile to win the individual men's title.

Women's defending champion, senior Linda Keller(21:32.8) of the University of Minnesota Morris, left it even later, using mind games and a final straight sprint that left Wartburg sophomore Alana Enabnit five seconds back(21:37.8) at the finish.  The pair were neck and neck coming up the short, steep hill less than a quarter mile from the finish line when Keller put on her final burst.

"I thought I was going to die," Keller told her family, who greeted her with concern at the end of the finish chute.  Keller had collapsed into the arms of one of the finish chute volunteers after the finish and still looked pale as she walked unaided to see her relatives.  "I just have to walk a little," she said and proceeded to go from the water table to the other runners, holding several cups of water to hand out to the other finishers.

A couple of the women had gotten a gap on Keller during the last mile, so she began talking to herself.  "I'm OK, I just have to make top ten(to qualify for nationals)," she told herself. When she heard someone say it was just a half mile from the finish, she perked up:  "Oh, that means I've only got to go for another two minutes." then she picked up the pace.  Enabnit stuck with her, however, and even as she began to pull away Keller thought: "Oh, she's going to come back on me."

When her relatives asked her what her time was, she replied: "I don't know.  I couldn't see anything. I was just focused on that last stretch to the finish.  I just went as hard as I could.  One mat. The other mat. 'Oh, I'm finished.' I didn't see the clock.  I didn't see anything.  I couldn't feel my feet.  I fell on that guy.  I apologized to him(for falling on him)."

There was no need for apologies for Wintheiser as he exercised caution as did the rest of the large lead pack when Grinnell junior Frank Canady(eighth in 25:49.1) shot into a big lead in the first mile.  Canady didn't hold it for long, as the pack caught him within a mile and the pace picked up from there until it was only Wintheiser, Horton, and Decker .  The trio had raced before with Horton beating him by a tenth of a second in the Jim Drews Invitational after Wintheiser had beaten both Horton and Decker at the Roy Griak Invitational.

There would be no sprint finish this time as Wintheiser made a decisive move before the trio left the wooded area for the last time and increased his lead as he charged toward the finish.  Behind him, his teammates were also picking off runners to gain the points needed to edge Central College, who had beaten them handily in their earlier meetings, said St Olaf assistant coach, Dave Griffiths.

Both of St Olaf head coaches, Phil Lundin(men) and Chris Daymont(women) were happy to have earned the automatic qualifier spots to avoid the anxiety and uncertainty of waiting for the NCAA committee to decide the 16 at large teams that get a spot at next Saturday's championship.  Most of the discussion among the coaches afterwards indicated that the top five teams for the women(which would include both Carleton and Gustavus, who tied for fourth) and possibly four or five for the men(which would include St John's who finished fourth).

Full men's results are HERE.  Women's HERE.

NXN Heartland Regional Meet

For those of you who thought the high school season was over, think again.  Top teams and individuals from Minnesota are on the start list for Sunday's boys and girls championship races in Yankton Trails Park in Sioux Falls, SD.  The Heartland Region has teams from seven states: Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas.  Entry list for teams and individuals is HERE.

Dowling Catholic is the top ranked team in the region for the boys' race according to the Harrier's Marc Bloom's rankings HERE.  His girls rankings are HERE with Arrowhead from Wisconsin topping the list.  Minnesota state team champs Stillwater(boys) and Wayzata(girls) are ranked second in the rankings. The Eagan girls are ranked sixth; with the Edina boys(fifth)and Wayzata boys(eighth) also in the top ten.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Gopher Women Third, Men Seventh at NCAA Regionals

The  Gopher women finished third at the NCAA Division I Regional Cross Country Championships in Springfield, MO on Friday.  Sophomore Molly  Kayfes led the team in eighth in 20:47.87  Full women's results are  HERE.  The men placed seventh led by a 36th place finish by junior Derek Storkel, who ran 31:14.33.  Full Minnesota men's results are HERE.  Full men's race results are HERE.

Gopher Men's and Women's Teams Vie for NCAA Berths

The University of Minnesota women's cross country team is seeking its eighth consecutive bid to the NCAA Championships at the NCAA Midwest Regional this Friday in Springfield, Mo. Minnesota will bring the same ten runners who traveled to the Big Ten Championships, and seven will compete.

The top two teams from each of the nine regional races will automatically advance to the national meet. Thirteen additional teams will receive at large bids based on a points system.

"If we could make it in the top two, we'll be able to breathe easier," assistant coach Sarah Hesser said. "We don't want to leave it up to chance."

The Gophers finished third last season and received an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships. The two teams who finished ahead of them last year, Iowa State and Oklahoma State, again enter this year's regional ranked ahead of Minnesota. The No. 2 Cyclones have beaten the No. 28 Gophers twice this season (at the Griak and Wisconsin adidas Invitationals), but Minnesota has yet to face No. 21 Oklahoma State in head-to-head competition this fall.

"Oklahoma State has two really strong runners up front," Hesser said. "We need to try to capitalize on the gap between their second and third runners. We should have three or four runners who can compete to be in the top 25."

Minnesota is coming off of a fourth-place finish at the Big Ten Championships. Hesser said the team watched the race replay on TV to analyze performances.

"Every person knows they can run a little bit better," she said.

Last year's top runner, Stephanie Price, graduated, but six of Minnesota's 10 traveling runners have NCAA Regional or Championships experience. They are a part of the seven-year Championships streak the Gophers are looking to extend this season.

"This group has been there and understands what it takes," Hesser said. "That's a benefit. But it also adds pressure. Hopefully that's good pressure. Nobody wants to be the group that breaks the streak. It's not easy to make it to the national meet. You have to back it up every year."

*Read a Q&A with the six juniors on the travel squad HERE.

The Gopher men’s team faces 30 men’s teams including four nationally ranked squads. The day's events will begin at noon with the women's 6K championship race, and will continue at 1:15 PM. with the men's 10K championship race. The 2012 Regional will feature 30 men's teams, 35 women's teams and a total of 604 student-athletes who will attempt to advance to nationals.

The top two teams in each race and the top four individuals in each race not on an advancing team will automatically move on to the next round. The top two teams from each of the nine regional races will automatically advance to the NCAA Championships on Nov. 17 in Louisville, Ky. Thirteen additional teams will receive at large bids based on a points system.

Minnesota is coming off a fifth-place finish at the Big Ten Championships two weeks ago in East Lansing, Mich. The Gophers also recorded the program’s first-ever team win at the Roy Griak Invitational this year and finished second to nationally ranked BYU at the Autumn Classic.

The Minnesota Daily NCAA Regional preview is HERE.

"Trickle Down"

As we're awash in political jargon from the recent election it seems appropriate to use the label, the "trickle down" effect, for what the former and current elite athletes give back to the sport through coaching.  

Six Team USA Minnesota distance runners coached either high school or college cross country teams this Fall, including Antonio Vega, Jon Peterson, Heather Kampf, Meghan Peyton, Jamie Cheever, and Chris Rombough.

Vega, Peterson, and Kampf coached Twin Cities area high school teams which concluded their seasons at the Minnesota State High School Cross Country meet on November 3.  Peyton, Cheever, and Rombough are working with collegiate teams that will have their final championship meets by mid-November.

Vega is head boys and girls cross country coach at the Academy of Holy Angels, a private school in Richfield.  “Coaching high school cross country is a fun and rewarding job although stepping in as a new head coach was pretty challenging,” said Vega, who was the 2010 USA Half Marathon Champion and USA Track & Field Long Distance Runner of the Year. He noted one of the challenges after the Medtronic Twin Cities 10-mile where he noted that he was coaching the team during the weekend of the race, so he didn't get much rest prior to his race.

“I most enjoy sharing my passion of running with others and seeing improvements that an athlete makes.  Having a kid not be able to run a mile without walking at the start of the season to being able to run for an hour straight is the biggest reward as a coach.  Plus seeing the enjoyment that kids have when they discover the sport of running is a great experience.”

New Team USA Minnesota member Peterson, who graduated last June from the University of California, Davis, started his coaching duties in August when he moved to the Twin Cities.  He was the assistant coach for the Edina High School boys cross country team, which placed second in the large school state meet on Nov. 3.  

“Being entirely new to Minnesota along with being a new coach, it took some time to become acquainted with the team and each of the individuals in how to help them train to their potential,” said Peterson, who was a Big West Conference cross country champion and has run 13:41 in the 5000m.  “I most enjoyed seeing the team progress throughout the season and seeing the pieces come together as they continued their training.”

At Apple Valley High School, Kampf marked her third year as assistant girls cross country coach.  “The biggest challenge at Apple Valley this year was our numbers since we graduated 13 seniors last year,” said Kampf, who is the 2012 USA 1 Mile Road champion and was seventh in the 800 meters at the U.S. Olympic Trials.  “We’re putting a lot of time into recruiting up-and-coming middle schoolers and tapping into athletes who don’t play a fall sport, so hopefully we’ll grow in the years to come. 

“I was proud to send my first athlete to the state cross country meet this year but most importantly, I enjoy being a ‘life coach’ in addition to being a running coach.  I believe that if I can guide my athletes to be healthy, confident and happy young women, I have done my job regardless of how they perform.  It’s so fun for me to share my own experiences with them and watch them apply it to their own performances and succeed.”

Peyton and Cheever are both assistant coaches for the men’s and women’s cross country teams at Augsburg College, where Team USA Minnesota coach Dennis Barker is the head cross country coach.  Peyton is in her third year with the teams and Cheever is in her first season at Augsburg.  “It is so much fun to be involved in the sport at another level,” said Peyton, who is a top competitor at distances ranging from the mile up through the 10 mile.  “There is little that is more rewarding than to see those you coach succeed and overcome adversity.”

According to Cheever, the athletes had some great performances at the conference meet and are looking forward to DIII regionals and nationals.  “The part I most enjoy is spending time with the athletes and getting to share my experience and expertise,” said Cheever, who was sixth at the 2012 USA Cross Country Championships and was in the steeplechase finals at the U.S. Olympic Trials.  “I feel rewarded when an athlete has a particularly strong race or runs a PR.”

Also coaching collegiate athletes is Rombough, who is in his third year as the volunteer assistant men’s cross country coach at the University of Minnesota, which competes in DI.  While at the U as a collegiate athlete, Rombough won the Big Ten Cross Country Championships.

You can add to these Team USA Minnesota runner/coaches Steve Hoag, Bruce Mortenson, Mike Reneau, Don Timm, Sue Wurl, and others I'm probably missing who share the commitment to passing on their knowledge to the next generation of runners in the state. "Pay it forward," trickle down, whatever you want to call it these runners have stayed connected to their sport beyond their competitive careers.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Deadline for MEADP Applications in November 30

The MEADP, better known as the Minnesota Elite Athlete Development Program provides financial assistance to Minnesota athletes via a grants of up to $2,000.  Twin Cities in Motion, Grandma's Marathon, and the MDRA fund this program and applications for this year are open until November 30, 2012.

for more information on the program, qualifications for grants, and further info, click HERE.

NIRCA and the Minnesota Running Club(TURC)

If you scanned the results of the Roy Griak Invitational,  the Jim Drews and Tori Neubauer Invitationals, you would have seen the Minnesota Running Club(officially known as The University Running Club-TURC) listed.  You might have wondered: Who are those runners?  They are part of a national group of what could be categorized as intramural runners who compete against NCAA Division II and III athletes, as well as other teams like them around the country.

The umbrella organization for these teams is the NIRCA(National Intercollegiate Running Clubs) and their national championships begin tomorrow and extend through Sunday in Hershey, PA.  You can read about the NIRCA and their championships HERE and HERE. You can read more about the Minnesota team at their web page HERE.

St Olaf Hosts the Stars

The following is an article written by Charlie Mahler in 2007, the inaugural year of Down the Backstretch.  It warrants revisiting as the NCAA Division III Regional meet is hosted there this weekend after last week's  MSHSL Championships.  In 2007 the course hosted the NCAA Division III championship race for the second time(first was in 2002), and has also played host to past MIAC championships.  Mahler, who lives in Northfield, has a runner's familiarity with the nuances of the venue and he shares them here:

Over the next three weekends, St. Olaf College's cross country course will provide the stage for three of the biggest events on the season's cross country calendar. This weekend, St. Olaf will host the MSHSL State Cross Country Championships. Next weekend, it will serve as the site for the NCAA Division III Central Regional. One weekend after that, it will host the NCAA Division III National Championships.

A lot of athletes' seasons will be made or lost on the IM fields and woods and prairie trails of the Northfield campus.

We spend a lot of time talking about athletes on Down the Backstretch, but today let's talk about a course. As a Northfield-area resident myself -- I can see St. Olaf's campus from our farmhouse north of town -- I've taken the opportunity to run over the St. Olaf course quite a few times this fall. While I haven't raced over its terrain since my college days in the 1980s when the course was less developed, I feel like I've gotten a good sense the venue which has hosted the State Meet since the mid-1990s. This year will mark the second time the D3 Championship has come to what is now my hometown.

After running the course on roughly a weekly basis this fall, I think it's a great venue for a challenging late season meet. It's a tougher-than-it-looks course that, I think, rewards smart running and alert racing. It's fair but it's not anything like a push-over.

The start is as you'd wish for a big-meet venue: wide open with turns that sweep rather than angle. Although the opening 600 meters runs across dull stretch of soccer and intramural fields, small berm-sized hills punctuate the open field providing some tough little physical tests amidst the early position-finding.

When the course leaves the open fields and enters the narrowed trails, runners meet the course's unique challenge for the first time -- balancing the desire for shortest distance between two points with the need efficient footing. The trail sections of the course often feature side-hills where you least want them. Running the tangents through the loop before the 1 mile mark means running up onto some frustrating slopes. Running in the worn paths, though, makes the course longer.

Do you run exactly 5000 meters and fight the side-hills? Or, do you run 5015 more efficient meters? Questions runners must face, and answer, turn-by turn.

In the rush-hour traffic of the first mile, the track chosen may be decided as much by the elbows and shoulders of competitors as anything else. But as the race moves forward, more and more racers will face the elemental question of where best to place their next steps.

Beyond the awkward side-hilling, there's lots of other micro-topography to the course. It's a course that's also hilly on an inches scale. Especially on the short "half-moon" loop after the mile split -- which the high school boys and girls don't run -- there's worn path, smooth grass, clumped grass, and otherwise uneven ground. Not exactly a rhythm runner's dream.

All the racers trace back across the IM fields, dropping down the berm-hills that they hustled up on the way out. Prevailing winds suggest a head-wind here -- consult the nearest wind turbine, rising monstrously in the near-distance, for race-day conditions. As often as not the leader across the windswept tundra is not the leader at the finish line.

When the racers leave the open fields -- collegians busting up a sharp hill to the pond loop, preps climbing gradually for the back loop -- the tangents-and-surfaces challenge resumes. The college runners seeking the shortest, most efficient route to the far end of the pond, before they make their own long climb to the back woods.

If you're old enough, you'll remember the two-minute stretch on space missions when the astronauts in the capsule were out of contact with the earth upon re-entry. To State Meet spectators, there's a similar feeling about the back loop. The racers -- tiring step-by-step but gaining the finish stride-by-stride -- lose themselves to observers deep in the woods. How they'll return is uncertain.

What they face back there is known: the steepest, longest climb of the course. For the high schoolers, with but a half-mile to run, the hill will separate contenders from pretenders. For the collegians, with further to race and more in the tank, it's a rough test just as matters are getting serious. They'll still race on -- the women for more than a mile, the men for two-and-a-half -- but the stronger they ran up that hill, the more likely they are to finish well in the stretch.

Even if the runners didn't notice it on their pre-race run or in the early miles, there's not a lot that's flat about the St. Olaf course. And what may have felt flat in one physiologic state might not feel so 12 hard-run minutes later. The collegians, especially, will feel the undulations as they rise and fall on their return trip through the pond loop. They'll pound down the sharp hill leading back the fields. The men will feel -- in their ankles and hips -- the berms, the side-hills, the wobbly footing as they rewind their opening miles.

And then it all culminates up that steep, IM field climb to the finish stretch. One last challenging, separating, frustrating, excruciating hill.

So close:  just top it and sprint for home.

So far:  Stublaski led Mead at the bottom of that climb last year; Mead led at the finish line.

Just what Minnesota's top high schoolers will paint with their efforts on Saturday on the St. Olaf canvas is yet to be seen. So too, what the best small college athletes in the region and nation can accomplish after that.

But, under clear skis or rain, wet footing or dry, the St. Olaf course itself will surely be a challenger no athlete can afford to take lightly.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Pick Ten: NCAA Regional Meets

The end of the 2012 Down the Backstretch fantasy contests is upon us.  The Pick Ten competition comes to a close this week with a contest featuring the Division I and Division III Regional races.  Next week, the Yes/No game will reach its conclusion for 2012 with questions regarding the collegiate National Cross Country Meets.

Entering the final weekend, the Pick Ten contest is tight.  Here are the current leaders:

Rich Cowles - 169
Mike Henderson - 161
Mitch VanBruggen - 160
Jesse Schoen - 155
Toby Hatlevig - 154
Heather Jelen - 152

The University of Minnesota Gophers will run in the Midwest Regional on Friday while the Wisconsin Badgers compete in the Great Lakes Regional on the same day.  Over in Division III, the MIAC teams are all heading to Northfield where St. Olaf will host the Central Regional on Saturday.

Pick Ten has a simple concept: predict the finish place for each of 10 Minnesota athletes at this weekends competitions. You will score points for each athlete who scores at or above the finish place you predict for them, following the 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scoring system.

For example: If you pick Laura Docherty to place first in the Midwest Regional race, and she places first, you get 10 points. If you pick Docherty to place first and she finishes second, you get zero points. If you pick Docherty to finish third in the race and she places first, second or third, you get 8 points by the scoring system above, since she placed at least as high as you predicted.

To play Pick Ten, cut and paste the list of names/events below into an e-mail and add your place predictions -- 1st or 2nd or 3rd...8th. Send your predictions by 11:30 A.M. CST on Friday, November 9th to DtBFantasy [AT] gmail [DOT] com. Make sure your full name is in the e-mail. As with our Yes/No contests, we don't offer any prizes, so no one needs to fear running afoul of NCAA or other anti-gambling regulations.

We'll announce the winner of this week's contest and compile results of all of the year's Pick Ten contests to name a grand champion for 2012.

Pick 10 ... NCAA Regional Races:

Rob Finnerty - University of Wisconsin:
University of Minnesota Men:
Laura Docherty - University of Minnesota:
University of Minnesota Women:
Taylor Berg - St. Thomas:
Gustavus Adolphus Women:
Carleton Women:
Micheale Tesema - Augsburg:
Zach Haskins - Bethel:
St. Olaf Men:

Here is some information to help you with your picks:
Good luck!

For full standings of both contests, please visit DtB Fantasy Corner.

NCAA Division III Preview--St Olaf Men

St Olaf team at Como.  Photo courtesy of MIAC

The following is the St Olaf SID summary of the team's win at the MIAC Meet written by Mike Ludwig
Grant Wintheiser won the individual title as the St. Olaf men's cross country team won the MIAC Championship on Saturday, the fourth in school history, as the Oles held off St. Thomas and Bethel at Como Park.

Wintheiser finished in 25:08.1, over 20 seconds ahead of second place runner Michaele Tesema from Augsburg. St. Olaf held a 43-point advantage over second place St. Thomas and a 47-point lead over third place Bethel.

The Oles had five runners in the top 20, led by Wintheiser and junior Brian Saksa, who finished eighth (25:50.9). First year Jake Campbell was 12th (26:02.9), senior Tim Lillehaugen 14th (26:10.4) and first year Calvin Lehn 19th (26:21.8). Senior Chris Massey came in at 26:28.5 for a 25th-place finish and Stefan Lemke was 30th in 26.39.2.

Wintheiser is the fifth St. Olaf men's runner to win a MIAC title since 1997, joining Duboul Ruon (2008), Sam Hauck (2005), Kelly Fulton (2004) and T Scott Major (1997).

St. Olaf last won a team title in 2008, head coach Phil Lundin's first season at the helm. The Oles also had titles in 2004 and 1976. 
This was St. Olaf's fifth MIAC title, and third since 2004 after winning just twice from 1934 to 2003. In addition to his two MIAC Coach-of-the-Year awards, Lundin was also named Big Ten Coach-of-the-Year four times during his tenure as head coach at the University of Minnesota.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

NCAA Division III Preview--Gustavus Women

The NCAA Division III Regionals are this Saturday at St Olaf.  As part of the preview to that meet, below is an article by Tyler Grey written for the Gustavus team's website.  

“It doesn’t get any better than that,” exclaimed an ecstatic Dale Bahr following his team’s victory at the 2012 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) Women’s Cross Country Championships on Saturday at Como Golf Course.  The Gusties placed four runners inside the top 15 who earned All-Conference honors on the way to their first MIAC title since 2003.  Gustavus’ 57 team points were just three points in front of second place finisher St. Olaf, who scored 60 points.
“I told the ladies before the race that this is about you guys running as a team, and doing it for the seniors,” stated Bahr.  “They responded with an amazing race.  It was so fun to watch that I am truly speechless.”
The Gusties used gutsy performances from the top down on their way to being crowned champions.  For the first time in the history of the Gustavus women’s cross country program, four Gusties finished inside the top 15 to earn All-Conference honors.
After being Gustavus’ third runner consistently throughout the season, Rebecca Hare (Jr., Albany, Minn.) stepped up to lead the way for the Gusties on Saturday.  The junior finished fourth in a time of 22:29.4 to earn her first All-Conference honor of her career.  Sophomore sensation Caitlin Fermoyle (Mendota Heights, Minn.)continued her breakout season.  Fermoyle finished fifth just four seconds after Hare in a time of 22:33.0.
Senior Kate Eggers (Montevideo, Minn.) capped off her collegiate career with her third All-Conference performance in as many years.  After finishing seventh in 2010 as a sophomore and ninth last year as a junior, Eggers finished 10th on Saturday after she crossed the line in 22:56.6.  Beth Hauer (Sr., Little Falls, Minn.)followed Eggers in 12th place with a time of 23:01.9.  It is the second time that Hauer has garnered All-Conference honors in her tenure wearing the three crowns.
“Our top four ran amazingly well, and Meredith Bache-Wiig had the race of her life,” mentioned Bahr.  “She was our fifth runner and made a world of difference for us to finish the way we did today, as champions.”
A senior captain for the Gusties this season, Meredith Bache-Wiig (Sr., Plymouth, Minn.) finished in 26th in a time of 23:34.2, narrowly outside the qualifications for All-Conference Honorable Mention.  It is her highest finish at the MIAC Championships after a 53rd place finish last season.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” remarked Bache-Wiig of being a conference champion in her final season.  “We knew all season that we were going to need a fifth person to step up to the top four front runners, who all had an amazing race.”
“We have been focused on making conference our best race of the year,” Bache-Wiig continued.  “All of our training was geared towards the conference race and coming together as a team so everyone was on the same page.”
Saturday’s victory marks the second conference championship in the 33-year history of Gustavus women’s cross country.  In his fourth year as the head coach, Dale Bahr earned his first MIAC title at the helm of the program.  Bahr was an assistant to Scott Jerome in 2003 when the Gustie women won their only other conference title.
“The women are truly team runners,” finished Bahr.  “They went out and competed for each other.  Their performance today speaks volumes of what you can do when you do it as a team.  To beat four teams that we had not beaten all year at the conference meet was incredible to watch, I can’t say enough about the women and their performance.”