CSS Cross Country Competes in UMAC Championships

Andrew Naslund

The College of St. Scholastica men’s and women’s cross country teams traveled to Benson, Minnesota to battle the cold and their UMAC foes in the conference championships this past Saturday. While the men’s team finished third on the day behind the University of Wisconsin-Superior and Martin Luther College, the CSS women’s team finished first in their race—their third year in a row as UMAC champions.

After winter’s abrupt and rude first visit to Minnesota on the Friday before the race, the CSS men’s team knew it would be a cold race heading down to Benson. At the start of the season, UWS and Martin Luther were the co-favorites to take home UMAC hardware, while the Saints were expected to follow closely behind in third. As it turns out, this prediction would mainly hold true as UWS finished in first place on Saturday with a score of 40, Martin Luther placed second with a score of 56, and the Saints ended up in third with a score of 60.

Once again, the Saints were led by the standout freshman from Cloquet, Isaac Boedigheimer. Boedigheimer was the fastest runner on the team for the past two races, and he made that sure that would be the case for the third week in a row by having his best time on the season of 26:19, third best overall in the race. While some people may fear the cruel and cold air of a late October afternoon in Minnesota, Boedigheimer looked forward to a race with these kinds of temperatures on a course like the one in Benson.

“The course was flat and firm because of the cold conditions, which gave everyone the prime opportunity to produce fast times,” Boedigheimer said. “The cold definitely helped me stay with the leaders. I enjoy the cold more than the heat and the race came down to who had the best kick at the end.”

In fifth overall place with a time of 26:35 would be Boedigheimer’s teammate Easton Foss, a junior from Pine City, Minnesota. That time would be Easton’s season-best, and a personal improvement of roughly one minute on the Benson course from last year. Cameron Pearson, a sophomore for the Saints, would also score his best mark of the year with a time of 27:22, qualifying him for eleventh overall in the race.

Ryan Steger and Izaak Juenemann would round out the scoring for the Saints, as Steger would be the 20th racer to cross the finish line on the day with his season best time of 28:06, while Juenemann finished five spots back with a time of 28:23.

Unlike the men’s team, the women’s race was no nail-biter, as the CSS women’s team won easily with an overall team score of 25, with Minnesota Morris finishing in second place with a score of 74, and UWS in third with 93.

Just as the women’s team has now won the UMAC for the third year in a row, Casey Hovland, a senior from North Branch, Minnesota, captured her third straight individual UMAC title. Her streak of three individual titles is a first for the Saints program—a feat only one other runner in the entire UMAC has ever accomplished. Hovland finished in first place with a time 21:52, and she had to wait around at the finish line for about two minutes before the next runner would arrive.

Nicole Gilman would finish in third overall place in the UMAC championships for the second straight year with her season-best score of 23:55. Elizabeth Poskie, a sophomore from South Ridge, Minnesota, would also post a season-best time on Saturday, finishing in sixth place with a time of 24:35. Fourteen seconds later, Poskie’s teammate Lauren Dynek finished in seventh place, boasting her season-best time as well. Improving her UMAC championship time by roughly three minutes from her freshman year, sophomore Katelynn Gullickson filled out the top five for the Saints with her time of 24:52.

While her score would not officially count for the Saints team score, the senior from Roseville, Minnesota, Heidi Carlson also had her best performance of the year, finishing within the top twenty with a time of 25:11.

Both the men’s and women’s team will now begin to prepare for NCAA Central Region Championships. With each race now getting more and more competitive, the Saints know that they must continue to improve, but they also want to keep things light.

“As much as we are going to remain focused on and efficient with our training,” Isaac Boedigheimer mentioned, “we also are going to maintain the fun and friendly environment we have been training in because it helps us keep that focus and efficiency.”

The NCAA Central Region Championships will be hosted by Carleton College, taking place in Northfield, Minnesota on Saturday, November 11.