Saturday, November 12, 2016

The DIII Central Region Championships Was a Border Battle

The Iowa Intercollegiate Conference(IIAC) and the MIAC battled for the Team and Individual titles on the Carleton College course in Northfield on Saturday.  Loras, the 2016 IIAC men's champions added the Regional men's crown to their team accomplishments, and swept the individual titles.

St.Olaf's women took the women's team trophy, while the Ole men finished third in the team competition. Their team placings flipped from the MIAC championships where the men won and the women were third.  The keys to the Loras' success came in preparation and execution.  Their coach Bob Schultz took a full team approach telling the team's non-scoring sixth and seventh men to try and finish in front of as many of the other teams that they could.

Schultz preached patience as well with the team members placed within the lead pack, but not up front.  Early in the race the top 50 men were only seconds apart, and all seven team members were in that lead pack. The Loras team had shown in winning their "reconnaissance" meet on the Carleton course on October 1 and in a tight battle for the IIAC championships two weeks before Regions that they did not wilt in highly competitive races.

Only 5 points separated the top four men's teams at the IIAC meet with Loras winning the championship with 67 points to 70 for runners' up Nebraska Wesleyan and Wartburg,  Central College was fourth with 72 points.  Prevailing in that intense competition probably boosted the Loras team's confidence, said St. Thomas coach Pete Wareham.

Both Mason Tope, the Region men's race winner, and Audrey Miller, the Regionals women's champion,said that their experience in the Carleton College Running with the Cows meet got them comfortable with the course which helped them plan and execute their race strategy in the Regional championships.

Schultz noted that the Loras team was young, with only two seniors in their top seven. During the season nine different guys contributed vital points when they were needed.  They ran as a team, he said, not as individuals.

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