It's why you see runners out in bad weather as well as good. The long hours of training, running and thinking are almost over. The Piper Men's Cross Country contingent heads out Thursday for Winneconne, Wis and the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships. This is the seventh time since 2000 that Hamline has sent a team to this meet. (On two other occasions, individuals went). Head coach Paul Schamedeke knows what his team needs to do Saturday. "We need to score in the 300s to make the top 10 and in the 400s for the top 15," he said. "It's a very talented field, though."
North Central (Ill.), who won the 2009 title, is considered by many observers as the team to beat.
HU is off to the Badger state as an at-large participant. St. Olaf nipped them for second place (and the last automatic berth) at last week's Regional Championships in Waverly, Iowa.
The Pipers' seven man contingent that will run in Wisconsin will be a veteran crew. Senior co-captains Devin Monson, Jack Deichert and Ellis Richardson will be joined by juniors Nate Dobbins, Chris Reisdorfer, Brendan Ruter and Colin Rogers. At the MIAC Meet last month, the senior trio finished 2-3-4 to help the Pipers to their straight conference crown. Last week, at the NCAA Regional, Deichert took second and Richardson was third. However, Monson was struggling with a cold and finished 39th. Schmaedeke said Monson is feeling a lot better this week and is ready to make his last CC race one to remember. In last year's NCAA race, he finished in 23rd place (19th in the overall scoring). That earned him a berth on the All-American team. Deichert, Rogers, Richardson and Dobbins also competed in this race last year. Having five runners who already know the drill can only help them.
To succeed Saturday, however, requires a little different mindset. "We always tell our guys that you need to be patient and finish strong," Schmaedeke said. "But it's a little more difficult to do it when you have a field that it is this close in ability. It's a very tight group and you need to know this in advance. In an event like this, if you're patient, you may be back a bit."
Still, the veteran coach feels good about his team's chances Saturday to better last year's 22nd place finish. "We know the numbers we'll need to score," he said. Hamline's best finish at this event was a seventh place standing in 2005.
There will be a link available here at on Saturday to watch the race, which is scheduled to start at 12:00 p.m. (CST).