Cobber cross country gave it their all at the NCAA Central Regional Meet last weekend, with the women finishing 8th, just missing the last Nationals slot, and the men pulling in at 18th.
The Cobbers had some tough competition going into the regional meet. Three out of the five top-finishing schools were from the MIAC conference. The top five move onto the Division III National Meet.
“The MIAC is a really, really good cross country conference,” women’s head coach Marv Roeske said.
Roeske said that the primary goal of the women’s team at the NCAA meet this season was to break into the top ten. They finished 11th in 2012.
Top women’s runner Hannah Knickerbocker said that the race conditions were not ideal. The day was hot and humid, and the St. Olaf course they raced on was hilly
“It was a tough course,” Knickerbocker said. “I think we all adjusted as well as we could.”
Knickerbocker said that being that Moorhead is such a flat area, the team has to make it’s own hills.
“We run on the parking ramp at the mall, and we go down to the dike and run up and down that,” Knickerbocker said.
Knickerbocker finished 36th, one place out of range for All Region Honors, but she was still pleased with her finish.
“Going into it, I wasn’t expecting to finish where I did, so getting 36th was good,” she said.
Roeske also acknowledged the hard work done by the six other runners who competed in the meet. In particular, he said, junior Kathryn Stalnaker, “ran the best race of her life,” finishing 52nd, just outside the top 50.
The men’s team didn’t finish as well as the women’s, but they were still pleased with their performance at the meet.
“We improved a little from last year,” head coach Garrick Larson said. “We were still in range of where we should have finished.”
Larson said that the men’s top runner, Tanner Sakrismo, fell back in the tournament meet and finished third in the Cobber line-up, which cost the team some placement. However, the teams 4th and 5th runners, Henry Dobbs and Scott Anderson, were able to get ahead in the race, and helped boost the Cobbers.
“They ran spectacular races,” Larson said.
According to the Cobber cross country webpage, the men’s team was poised to finish 15th overall, but a collision between runners left number three runner Ryan Sederquist on the ground for a few seconds before he was able to get up and finish the race. The collision cost Sederquist 50 seconds off his time.
For the women, the 8th place finish is big, as this year is the first time since 2002 that the women have broken into the top 10 at the NCAA Tournament, and Roeske is looking forward to next year’s meet.
“Hopefully we can get back there and improve on our 8th place,” Roeske said.