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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Men’s XC enjoys action-packed Oregon trip, takes second at Pioneer Open

<bby Davis ’13 put it, “Oregon is full of magic.” 

Many members of the Carleton men’s cross country team are likely to agree after a midterm break getaway to the Beaver State that included a race at the Pioneer Open in Estacada. The Fellahs, used to running loops around open golf courses in the Upper Midwest, found themselves dueling Pioneers and Missionaries under the eaves of towering, moss-covered trees along the banks of the Clackamas River. A misty, chilly day made racing conditions nearly perfect and a flat, fast course led to some great times.

The Knights took second place out of seven teams at the race, which was hosted by Lewis and Clark College. Carleton came within six points of winning the meet, as Lewis and Clark, the fifth-ranked team in the West Region, prevailed 49-55. 

After passing the one-mile mark in an eyebrow-raising 5:04, Marcus Huderle ’14 and Davis settled in to lead the Knights, placing ninth and 10th respectively in a race where several of the top finishers were alumni from other schools. Finland native Guthrie Cunningham ’14 and Colin Sinclair ’11 ran together much of the way until Cunningham sighted what he thought was a sauna at the finish line and in a flurry of excitement and Finno-Ugric babble pulled away from his teammate. Cunningham ran 26:27 to improve his personal best by nearly a minute and place 12th, while Sinclair was 13th, dropping his best time by 25 seconds to 26:41.

The clock read 26:47 when Carleton’s fifth scorer, Jacob Hoerger ’14 crossed the finish line in 16th place. Meanwhile, an eventful last mile could not stop Aaron Hirsh ’13 from running a personal best. Two runners passed Hirsh as he threw up en route to the finish, but the resilient and queasy Carl pulled himself together to pass them both before crossing the line in 27:07.

Matt Harrison ’13 celebrated his birthday a day early by running a minute and a half faster than his previous best to finish in 27:20. Homestate hero Kian Flynn ’12 also ran a personal best for the Knights, finishing in 27:21. Chas Karch ‘13 ran an impressive negative split, covering the second half of the course nearly 20 seconds faster than the first half to post a 27:25.  Breaking 29 minutes for the first time was Massachusetts native Reid McMurry ’13. 

After the meet, the Fellahs drove to Eugene, Oregon, often referred to as Tracktown U.S.A. A visit to Pre’s Rock, the place where famous American distance runner Steve Prefontaine died in a car crash, was brought into perspective by an incident experienced on the drive to the coast. Rounding a corner, the team saw a car flipped over in the middle of the road. After a minute’s confusion, the team helped flip the car and free the woman who was trapped in the passenger seat.

After the race and emergency response, the team took a well-deserved break, going for a long run on the beach in Lincoln City, consuming copious amounts of clam chowder and in the case of Karch, McMurry, and Josh Campbell ’13, learning how to boogie board from Flynn. In addition, the trip marked a couple of significant firsts for team members.  Seeing the ocean for the first time, Campbell jumped around like a little kid, yelling at waves and posing for a picture with a dead shark. Huderle was more adventurous still, eating an omelet for the first time. Before returning to Carleton, the Fellahs paid a visit to Flynn’s hometown, stopping for a hearty breakfast at the Otis Café and nearly filling the tiny restaurant.

Back in Minnesota, several other Knights competed at the Storm Invitational hosted by Crown College. Despite a hilly course, Cooper Dodds ’13 and Andy Hardt ’13 managed to run personal bests for the Knights. Additionally, Brian Spisiak ’13 ran his first race as a Carl, finishing in 29:27. After suffering a collapsed lung this summer, Spisiak’s comeback has been remarkable. 

The Knights do not race again until the MIAC Championships, a week from this Saturday.

-Colin Sinclair is a member of the men’s cross country team.

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