Cross country climbs in rankings

by Kate SimpsonStaff Writer

As they improve each meet, both Simpson College’s men’s and women’s cross country teams are climbing the rankings step by step, or should I say, stride by stride.

Senior runners Tricia Davis and Jess Christensen agree that the team is improving every race they run.

The women’s team has been tasting success this year.

After beating Loras College, who was ranked ninth in the region, at the Wartburg meet, the women’s team took over the ninth ranking, knocking Loras down to the tenth spot.

“Something we’re looking forward to is moving up in the conference,” Christensen said. “And especially beating some of the teams that us seniors have been wanting to beat since we were freshmen.”

The women’s team got second out of six at Central, seventh out of 11 at Grinnell, 12th out of 37 at Minnesota, and fifth out of 11 at Wartburg.

One student that has aided to the success of the team is junior Catie Ellingson. She has led the team with a second at Central (18:56), fifth at both Grinnell and Wartburg (22:45 and 22:55) and 11th at Minnesota (23:06).

Seniors Sarah Hammel, Davis and Christensen have been following close behind Ellingson and have been aiding to the team’s success.

The team does have some things they need to work on to keep moving up in the rankings.

“We have some significant gaps we need to make some progress on,” Davis said. “But the upperclassmen are leading very well and everyone is working very hard.”

Coming together as a team and doing well at regionals, which will take place Oct. 31 at Wartburg, is at the top of the team’s goals.

“The women’s team needs to realize the potential we have because I don’t think they realize what we are capable of,” Davis said.

Along with the women’s team, the men’s team has been working extremely hard. They got second out of seven at Central, seventh out of 17 at Grinnell, 20th out of 35 at Minnesota, and ninth out of 13 at Wartburg.

Junior Luke Weber (who has gotten tenth, 41st, 71st and 11th), sophomore Ryan Edwardson (second, 12th, 87th and 23rd) and senior Casey Dunning (ninth, 31st, 107th and 57th) have all been leading the men’s team.

“We have a good deal of competition at the front end of our line-up which is pushing us all to work harder and get better at each meet,” Dunning said.

One of the most exciting meets so far this year was the 2009 Roy Griak Invitational. The women’s team finished with 374 points.

This race had nine teams ranked in the top 35 of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Division III Cross Country National Rankings and only two teams not ranked in the top thirty-five finished ahead of Simpson.

For the men’s race, there were five teams ranked in the top thirty-five of the USTFCCCA Division III Cross Country National Rankings. They scored 566 points.

Both men’s and women’s teams continue to improve each practice. They have shown that they can be successful at both small and large cross-country meets. No matter where, the Storm will run the course.