Blugold cross country teams compete with over 20 teams in Blugold Invite

Both teams place in the top ten in varsity races
Blugolds race alongside several teams in home invite
Blugolds race alongside several teams in home invite

The Blugolds men’s and women’s cross country teams hosted the Blugold Invite on Sept. 29. The women’s team placed third out of 25 teams in the varsity races with 106 points and second out of 18 teams in the open races with 61 points. 

They took this spot without the attendance of runner Carolyn Shult, who won the previous St. Olaf Invitational on Sept. 16. The men’s team placed sixth out of 30 teams in the varsity races with 211 points and sixth out of 16 teams in the open races with 186 points. 

Dan Schwamberger, head cross country coach, said the Blugold Invite is typically a large meet and despite most teams coming from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa, they sometimes have teams fly out for the invite like Suffix College from Boston, Massachusetts. 

For the women’s team, Ava Matejcek took first for the Blugolds and ninth overall with Morgan Dahl, a fourth-year nursing student, following behind in second for the Blugolds and 18th overall in the varsity race. 

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Dahl, despite placing second, said she was still unsatisfied with her performance during the invite. 

“I’m definitely very proud of myself, how I handled the weather and just stuck with it throughout the entire race, but I had that feeling that there’s definitely a lot more in me for the rest of the season,” Dahl said. 

She said she had planned to keep up with Matejcek throughout the race, but Matejcek pulled ahead of her at the 3K mark. 

“We help each other out in the parts that we both struggle with and so it’s been really nice just getting to run with her and it makes racing a lot more fun,” Dahl said. 

She said Matejcek is like a little sister to her and they are good friends. In the open race, Kassie Bargender took first for Blugolds and sixth overall. 

On the men’s team, fourth-year statistics student, Mason Shea, placed first in the varsity race for the Blugolds and 15th overall in the varsity race moving up from 16th at the invite last year. 

Shea said one of his goals for this season is to make the top 40 at nationals and his win in the varsity race will help him get closer to it. Shea said he made sure to follow his race plan that day but the weather made it a bit harder to do so. 

“It rained all morning so we knew the course was going to be a little slippery and then it was pretty hot and muggy by the time our race rolled around,” Shea said. 

Dahl however said she wasn’t as affected by the weather because she made sure to hydrate beforehand. Schwamberger said they even had two ambulances on hand at the invite just in case. 

“There were probably five or six people taken to different medical centers around,” Schwamberger said. 

For the open race, Joey Thaler took first for the Blugolds and 25th overall. Schwamberberger said the second runner for the Blugolds in the open race, Nate Bilben, was 45 seconds faster than last year. 

Schwamberger said the team would be taking a few days to rest before getting back to work and changing to more specific workouts. 

“They’ve been running with confidence. I think if we can keep that going, it’s going to be fun to see what we can do the upcoming six weeks,” Schwamberger said.

Liz Curtin can be contacted at [email protected].

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