Luther College Chips

Women’s and Men’s Cross Country finish fourth at conference meet

Amelia Morrow (‘22), Ananda Easley (‘19), Martel DenHartog (‘19),  Emmy Buntrock (‘20),  and Grace Herber (‘22), compete at the 46th All-American meet at Luther on  Sept. 8.

Amelia Morrow (‘22), Ananda Easley (‘19), Martel DenHartog (‘19), Emmy Buntrock (‘20), and Grace Herber (‘22), compete at the 46th All-American meet at Luther on Sept. 8.

Genevieve Ehlers (‘19) | Photo Bureau

Genevieve Ehlers (‘19) | Photo Bureau

Amelia Morrow (‘22), Ananda Easley (‘19), Martel DenHartog (‘19), Emmy Buntrock (‘20), and Grace Herber (‘22), compete at the 46th All-American meet at Luther on Sept. 8.

Natalie Nelson, Staff Writer

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The Women’s and Men’s Cross Country teams both placed fourth at the American Rivers Conference meet in Lincoln, Nebraska on Saturday, Oct. 27.

Head Men’s Cross Country Coach Steve Pasche said that both teams responded well to the challenges of the race.

“The course was one of the best we’ve run on all year,” Pasche said. “All in all it made for great cross country, it was lovely. Both teams were in great condition and executed superb races over the course. Our races were the best of the season so far for us.”

Amelia Morrow (‘22) and Heather Hostager (‘22) claimed All-Conference titles on the women’s team. Morrow completed the six kilometer course in sixth place with a time of 23:20, while Hostager finished in 14th place with a time of 24:30.

Tom Altier (‘22) was the sole All-Conference runner on the men’s team, covering the eight kilometer course in 27:09.

Martel DenHartog (‘19) | Chips
Heather Hostager (‘22), Tom Altier (‘22), and Amelia Morrow (‘22) claimed All-Conference titles at the American Rivers Conference meet on Saturday, Oct. 27.

“We’ve got a fairly large and dynamic first-year group and I think they’ve brought a lot of energy to us,” Pasche said. “In some ways you see that in finish line results and in other ways you see it in day to day things, in our daily runs and workouts and meetings.”

Pasche also said that Payton Knutson (‘19), who ran the six kilometer course in 26:42, had one of the best-executed races in the field.

Notable performances on the men’s team, according to Pasche, were Nick Shaleen (‘20) who ran eight kilometers in 28:22 and Quenton Max (‘22) who finished in 28:28.

The team is currently in what they call the ‘championship season’, which is when the focus has shifted towards conference and NCAA Division III Central Regionals.

“Our training volume is on the way down, our training quality is pretty high, and we’re really gearing up to race at our best,” Pasche said. “We always hope that at this point in the season, we’re starting to put together complete races and starting to see some of the finish line results improve.”

In the ARC, there are three teams ranked in the top 25 of the NCAA’s Division III national rankings. Those three teams are also in Luther’s region.

According to Men’s Cross Country Co-Captain Kyle Gilberg (‘19), the competition in the men’s conference benefits the team going into the regional meet on Nov. 10.

Annika Vande Krol (‘19) | Photo Bureau
Andrew Millán (‘20) [BACK] and Kyle Gilberg (‘19) [FRONT] race towards the finish at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Luther dual on Oct . 22 at Luther.

“It’s good to have strong competition to push you and see where you stack up,” Gilberg said. “I expect that there will be a number of conference teams running in the front of the field at regionals, so it’s nice to see where we stack up. We can key off that and see how we can race at regionals in two weeks.”

The entire team competes in the conference meets, and Gilberg said it is a significant motivational advantage to run alongside teammates. The team also uses the “Luther way” style of racing, starting the races conservatively and speeding up throughout the later parts of the race to fill the gaps.

“We like to try to pass people toward the end of the race,” Gilberg said. “That gives you a confidence boost. You pass one person and you’re going to feel better and want to keep rolling. It’s demoralizing for them, which gives us a mental boost as well.”

Kat Hoffman (‘20) says every member of the program contributes to their teams’ success, and that the program as a whole s incredibly invested in one another this year.

“We’re all willing to help one another be better and also improve ourselves while doing that,” Hoffman said. “There isn’t a lot of discrepancy in relationships between the seniors and the first-years. Everybody is just there together and everyone cares, which is really good because it’s influencing the whole team.”

Women’s Cross Country Co-Captain Anna Restemayer (‘19) is happy with the way  both teams performed at the meet. However, Restemayer also believes that Luther can improve from their conference performance.

“I think we competed well,” Restemayer said. “It might not have been our strongest performance of the season, but we got after it and tried to get as much out of the race as we could. I think we have much more in store for our final [races] of the season.”

Luther will host the Saga Cup on Friday, Nov. 2, which will be the final meet for those not racing at regionals. The women’s team races at 4:15 pm and the men’s team starts at 5:00 pm.

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