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The Scarlet & Black

Cross Country women confident despite meet glitches

Technical glitches at Grinnell Women’s Cross Country team’s meet at Augustana College this past weekend weren’t enough to keep the them from performing their best and continuing their pursuit of the Conference Championship at the end of the season.

The women finished 13th out of 21 teams last weekend, behind conference foes Carroll College (9th) and Monmouth College (11th) .  Truman State won the meet with the University of Chicago coming in second.  Leading the Pioneers in scoring was Maja Gamble ’11, who finished 45th.

 “We were pleased with how things went, we feel that we are progressing week by week and I believe that most everyone ran their best times of the season,” Coach Evelyn Freeman said. However, figuring out how well everyone did was difficult because the golf cart used to lead the runners along the course took a wrong turn and created a 5420 meter course instead of the usual 6000 meters. Luckily, Freeman was able to use a palate pace converter in order to figure out everyone’s actual times.

Not only did Augustana shorten the length of the course, but the timing chip placed around a runner’s shoe did not work for Leah Russell ’11, whose score as the third Grinnell runner to finish wasn’t registered until days after the meet. In spite of these mishaps, Freeman believes that her runners are where they need to be in order to win Conference Championships for the fifth time in the past six years. 

“We placed better as a team than we looked on Friday, but our main goal is to perform well at conference and up until last year we had a string of four conference titles,” Freeman said. 

Last season at the Midwest Conference Championship, the Women’s Cross Country team tied for third place with St. Norbert College, placing behind Carroll and Champion Monmouth. Considering their finish at Augustana, Freeman believes them to be “sitting in a very good spot,” she said.

“Last year was a little bit disappointing because we had to deal with a lot of sickness and some injuries and they just occurred at the wrong time,” Freeman said. “It was a little bit disappointing to lose our strength.”

Although illness was a large contributing factor to the team’s third place finish last year, Team Captain Nora Colter ’10 focuses on positive aspects of the season so far and remains eager to see what the team can do at conference.

“It was really exciting how we scored in relation to other teams in our conference,” Colter said, who placed 91st this past weekend. “Just coming off of Augustana, we’re really looking forward to conference and we’re hoping we’ll be able to win again.” 

Although Freeman still worries about the potential of illness on her team, she has great belief in the high number of strong runners to lead them to the Conference Championship.

“We don’t have any superstar runners, we have a really large group of excellent runners, which in a way is an advantage too because they have each other and so no one is running by themselves and we have enough people for back up,” Freeman said. “Because we are so deep we can afford it more than other schools could.” 

The Skull Crushers, as the team calls itself, has two more opportunities to race before Conference Championships. The meets will be held at Wartburg College in Waverly, IA on Oct. 10 and in Oshkosh, Wis on Oct. 17, where a majority of the teams in the Midwest Conference will be running.

 “Oshkosh is the meet to get into the right mindset for, and will reinforce the idea that we do have a lot of talent on this team,” Gamble said. “Once we hopefully get into the right mindset, we could take conference.” 

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