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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Men’s Cross Country look to improve from ‘08

<morrow afternoon, Carleton’s harriers will race at the MIAC Championships at Como Park in St. Paul. The Knights look to improve dramatically on last year’s seventh place team finish. Five runners return from last year’s top seven.

Charlie Gamble ’10 has led the way for the Knights all season. The San Diego, California native has been Carleton’s top finisher at every meet this season, and is the fifth returner after finishing ninth overall in 2008.

After battling winter and summer injuries, John Davis ’11 has returned as the Fellahs’ number two. The co-captain was sick during last year’s conference meet, and has been wearing a flu mask in an effort to avoid illness this year.

Bobby Davis ’13, Chris Marshall ’10, Dylan Cheever ’13, Colin Sinclair ’13 finished within six seconds at the Running of the Cows October 17th. Josh Campbell ’13 looks to join them in a pack race to finish off the Knight scoring effort.

Sinclair’s devastating finishing kick give him the upper hand in the last 400 meters. Sinclair will be especially hungry for a fast finish after Cheever ran him down two weeks ago.

The Fellahs have excellent depth, and expect very little time between their third and seventh runners. Kian Flynn ’12 and Blake Hansen ’10 could also figure into the top seven.

This pack is the key to the Knights’ success tomorrow. Moving up 10-20 seconds could mean passing ten or even fifteen opponents. If the Carleton harriers work as a team, this could equate to thirty or forty points.

Head coach Dave Ricks is pleased with his team’s improvement from last year. The 2008 squad managed 4 runners in the top 50, and 9 in the top 100. Ricks set a 2009 goal of 8 top-50 performances, and said he could see 14 of his runners break to top 100.

Last year, St. Olaf captured the team title with 75 points, ahead of Hamline, St. Thomas and Bethel. These four squads all scored fewer than 100 team points. Carleton amassed 156.

With no clear favorite and several teams that could figure in the championship picture, the winning score this year could be much higher.

St. Olaf’s Doboul Ruon will defend his individual title. Bethel’s Dan Greeno, Macalester’s Wade Eckstrom and Augsburg’s Brent Haglund will challenge the Ole junior, who ran an awful race in LaCrosse two weeks ago.

The Knights will let others set the early pace, electing to move up over the final four kilometers instead. This strategy lead to a second-place finish in 2007.

The weather could be a major factor in the championship. At press time, forecasts predicted temperatures in the mid-40’s, cloudy skies and light winds. However, St. Paul may see rain and even snow prior to the 3:15 start. In addition, the 2:15 women’s race could affect course conditions by the time the men’s gun sounds.

The Fellahs are indifferent to weather conditions, and challenge Mother Nature to make it rain on their foes.

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