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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Young Women's CC team unhappy with 8th place in MIAC

By Will Kennedy

Disheartened may not sufficiently describe the attitude of the Macalester Women’s cross-country team following its performance last Saturday at the MIAC championships. On a crisp day at the 6,000-meter Como Park course, the women stumbled, finishing eighth out of 12 teams. Far behind league rivals that the team had competed with all-season, the post-race mood at the Mac camp was tangibly unhappy.”People were overall really disappointed,” Mac’s third finisher Emilie Shur ’10 said.

Reflecting on the results two days after the race, Head Coach Jordan Cushing continued to share her team’s frustration.

“I really think that we’re better than an eighth place team,” she said. “We just had a couple of things falter and with an inexperienced team you have to have the stars align.”

And on a day when the team needed its best races, astrology failed to smile on the Scots. Several runners who excelled all year were off their stride at the season’s most important meet so far, and despite some quality performances, Mac never made up the places it needed to put itself into contention with the league’s elite teams.

On a team comprised primarily of first-years and sophomores-18 of the team’s 24 runners are under-classmen-difficulties like those the Scots had Saturday, Cushing said, are particularly hard to overcome.

Mac finished eight points behind Concordia College and 45 points behind sixth-place finisher Gustavus Adolphus College, both teams the Scots had defeated earlier this year.

While the team’s inexperience certainly contributed to its MIAC struggles this season, the Scots have faced troubles at the conference meet before. In recent memory, championship woes are a familiar and disillusioning story with several veteran Macalester teams-some nationally ranked-underperforming at the big race.

The pressure of the championship meet is a difficulty that Mac must address in the future, and in that respect not all news from conference was bad news. Several of the Scots young runners put together remarkable races to keep the team from sliding more than one spot after last-year’s seventh-place finish. Getting out with the race leaders, Erin Lowrey ’10 ran to her second consecutive all-MIAC finish, placing seventh overall in the race. Libby Tollefson ’11 and Shur jumped several places in the team standings to finish second and third respectively for Mac.

“We have a lot of people, especially our younger runners who are stepping up,” Lowrey said. “They’re showing a lot of potential and that makes us hopeful for future seasons.”

But the team isn’t looking ahead to next year yet as the Scots still have the Central Regional meet approaching next week. Over 20 teams from Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Minnesota-including all of Macalester’s MIAC competitors-will race to qualify for the Division III National meet and the Scots will have a chance for some redemption if they can improve over their poor MIAC performance.

“We’re training hard again,” Shur said. “[We] want another chance.”

While National qualification is undoubtedly a long shot for Mac, Cushing sees the race as a chance to get some more big-race experience for her young team and an opportunity to end the season on a positive note.

“I think we’ll bounce back at [regions],” she said. “I think we’ll get back in the thick of things.

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