Men’s and Women’s Teams Make IIAC Mark

by Joe Gilson

The men’s and women’s cross country teams have excelled past expectations this season, and they aren’t finished yet. As the season heads for the final turn, impressive times have made the Storm something that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

“I’m honestly excited to show that we are a team to be reckoned with in the Iowa Conference,” Brad Hofer, head cross country coach, said. “It should be a dogfight and I can see us finishing anywhere from third to fifth in the conference for both the guys and girls.”

The men’s team has dramatically improved its times and finished ninth out of 26 teams at its last meet at Augustana. The meet had competition against larger schools across the Midwest.

“We’ve had a good year so far for the men, but we’re still looking to improve and I’m excited to see how far we can take it,” Hofer said.

The men’s team is young and without seniors, but juniors Ryan Edwardson and Matt Stone have helped to lead the team forward. Freshman Joe Farrand has stepped up for the Storm this year and ran a time of 26:32.3 in the 8 kilometers at Augustana. Farrand finished second on the team despite this being his first year in cross country.

“I’ve exceeded my expectations,” Farrand said. “The training program is really good and has really helped me, and I’ve ran well so far. Being a freshman and it being my first year, I’m an inexperienced racer and I do get nervous, but the captains help settle me down for the race and have already cut 30 seconds off my 8k.”

Hofer likes what he sees from the women’s team as well.

“The girls have significantly improved from last year,” Hofer said. “Catie Ellingson has led (the team). Jade Osborne has been running well, and they all are really starting to become great racers,” Hofer said. “The girls behind them like Annie Hills, Erin Guzman, Rachel Smith, and Shelby King have all stepped up and been very consistent for us and continue to set personal records.”

Senior Catie Ellingson has been recognized this season by receiving the IIAC athlete of the week for the first three weeks of the year. She ran a time of 21:55.9 in the 6 kilometer at Augustana.

“The season has gone fantastic so far,” sophomore Jade Osborne said. “We have all improved our times since last season and just watching the times drop has been very satisfying.”

The Storm teams will have to wait until Oct. 30 to prove to the conference how serious they are. The conference and regional championships are both at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa.