Weather turns race to mud: Cross country faces the elements in Waverly
WAVERLY, IA. – On Saturday, Oct. 5, the cross country teams traveled to Wartburg College in Waverly, IA, for a preview of the 2019 regional meet course at the annual Dan Hutson Invitational. This is a course the Duhawks have run many times before, but on this particular day, the weather managed to alter the once-runner-friendly course into a muddy mess prior to the races. The meet started out on a poor note, with weather delays keeping the teams off the course until weather conditions were deemed safe enough for competition. Following the delay, the men and women were met with a wet and muddy course.
“I was actually thrilled to see that the conditions were ‘less than ideal’ on race morning,” said assistant coach Ethan Adlfinger about the state of the course on meet day. “We are a strength-based program, so these types of conditions—muddy, rainy, windy, and cold—played well into our hand. I knew we would have some teams beat before the gun even went off, because I didn’t hear negativity from our group about the conditions. They were excited to compete, and were ready for anything to be thrown their way. That is a characteristic of a great team!”
Despite the difficult conditions of the course, the men’s team placed well among the other participating teams: third place overall, behind Wartburg College and Washington University. This third-place finish was higher than St. Thomas’ finish—a team which is ranked fourth in the region while Loras’ men are currently ranked sixth. Wartburg is ranked first in the Central Region.
“As a team, we really wanted to beat St. Thomas because they took our potential Nationals spot last year,” said sophomore Luke Guttormson. “We ended up beating them, which is really encouraging to see, especially since it’s still relatively early in the season.”
Leading the way for the men was Guttormson, who placed fifth overall in the race with an 8k time of 26:23.7.
“With the course being so muddy, you can’t worry about time,” said Guttormson. “It forces you to pay attention to who is around you, and focus on bringing them back to you in the last half of the race.”
Close behind Guttormson was senior Patrick Wolak, who placed 16 with a time of 26:48.5. The two raced with each other as long as possible during the race, which allows them to keep each other on pace and confident during the first half of the race. Coming in behind Guttormson and Wolak were junior Joey Schultz in 31 place, senior Cole Conklin-Little in 48 place, and senior Tyler Havens in 49t.
“The conditions made the course slower, but we were ready to compete in poor conditions and performed well against the other teams,” Havens said about the race and subsequent results. “We felt like our regional ranking was a little too low, so we were racing with a little edge to prove we are a top-four team in the Central Region, and deserve to be nationally ranked.”
The women’s team also had a good showing at the meet, finishing fourth behind Wash U., Wartburg, and Carleton. They finished one spot ahead of Gustavus Adolphus—a team ranked fifth in the Central Region, while Loras is ranked sixth—and this was accomplished without the entire team in attendance.
“I’m proud of our team beating the fifth-ranked team in our region while missing two of our top seven girls,” junior Kassie Rosenbum said. “I knew our mental game was strong, and we would get where we needed to be. We’re slowly moving up [the rankings] and plan to not go unnoticed.”
Rosenbum took second in the race, behind a runner from Wash U., with a finishing time of 22:45.89. Behind Rosenbum came sophomore Kaylee Osterberger (24:29.71) in 27, senior Maeve Dunaway (24:59.86) in 46, sophomore Camryn Reeg (25:11.24) in 54, and junior Emma Woelfel (25:36.25) in 69t. The women’s times were certainly also impacted by the weather, but it did not deter these Duhawks from moving up well during the race and beating a team ranked higher than themselves in the regional polls.
“Each week, my confidence level in our men and women has steadily increased,” said Adlfinger. “I can sense that the rising confidence is also present in each and every one of our athletes. The momentum grows each week, and despite still being at full training volumes, we are running better and better each week. I’m looking forward to the second half of the season and the continued success that I know will come.”
The Duhawks’ next competition takes place this Friday, Oct. 11, at the Dubuque Soccer Complex. The races begin at 4:45 p.m. Come out and support the Loras cross country team as a way to kick off the homecoming weekend!