• Brekka Wolf

Cross country comes to a close

The 2017 cross country season ended earlier this month with the men’s team placing 26th and the women placing 23rd in the NCAA Division II Central Region Championships in Kearney, Neb.

It was a year that brought in new talents from freshmen and transfer students alike. Cross country and track and field head coach Stu Melby was impressed with how well some of these newcomers performed.

“On the women’s side, Michaela Larson, a new freshman from Minot High, did a fantastic job. She was consistently our No. 3 runner. Brinlie Nielsen, also a freshman from Glasgow Mo., started out No. 7 and got down to No. 4 runner. Amanada Mohr, another freshman from Saskatchewan, was our No. 6 or 7. Mia Spain, freshman out of California, was redshirting soccer and came out to do cross country training and get stronger. She was our No. 7, No 8,” Melby said.

On the men’s side, the new people were Tory Bergan and Sahil Pandit.

“They were two of our new guys that were eligible, and they helped out. Then Steven Porter, who redshirted last year, was back this year,” Melby said.

There were many athletes who grew during the season such as Jana Jones, a junior, going from 80th place last year to 65th in the 2017 Regionals. Patience Albertson, a senior, had her highest finish at regionals ever at 150th place, and Larson, Spain, and Porter all ran personal records at Regionals, but the season itself had its own struggles according to Melby.

“It was kind of a mixed season for us because of numbers,” Melby said. “For the men, we had some health issues and injuries, so the end of the season kind of hurt us. For women, we lost a couple people because of injuries at the end, too. Unfortunately, one of them was one of our top women, Emily Westlake, so that kind of hurt us performance-wise. Overall, I think we came through pretty well, but we definitely wanted to do better individually, team-wise, placing in conference, and all that, but it is what it is.”

The team is currently on a short break to heal before indoor track training starts in the next couple weeks. The first indoor track and field meet is in mid-January, and the cross country runners will compete in distance events from the 800-meter to 10K.

“The track and field people have already been going. They started about the second week of school, including the sprinters, jumpers, and throwers. They have just been training all fall and are getting really anxious to start competing,” Melby said.

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