|Nov. 21, 1997
The men's and women's cross country teams ended their season last weekend with their best finish ever at the MIAC regional competition. They are pleased with their seasons and with their performances at both the conference and regional meets.
"The season ended on a really good note," said freshman Heidi Brenden, Concordia's top runner at the regional meet at St. Olaf last weekend. Sophomore Cindy Carstens pointed out that the women's team improved by two places at both the conference and regional meets. According to freshman Lori Lotthammer the team's goal for the regional meet was to take 15th place or better. Though the team took 13th out of 25 teams, Lotthammer says the team's success does not show timewise because of weather conditions. "It was snowing during the race, and there was three inches of snow on the ground. It was slippery in spots," added junior Barbara Breidenbach, who placed second on the team.
Team members consider team unity to be the biggest factor in their success. "Team bonding helped in the meets because we could race together and push each other," says Carstens. Breidenbach points out that someone was always there to step it up if another teammate was not performing at the level they usually could. She added that the team is very young, and she hopes they will move up in the conference even more next year.
The men's team was also pleased with their finish this season. "The season turned out to be better than all of us imagined," said freshman Chris Goebel, adding that the team placed better than it has since 1983. Senior and team captain Bill Keating, Concordia's top finisher, said the team was able to reach every goal set before them in the beginning of the season by coach Garrick Larson. According to Keating, the team did not back down from any challenges that Larson set before them.
Goebel acknowledges the strong leadership of the upperclassmen to be a key to the team's success. "We had a lot of freshmen, he said. The team's biggest weakness was inexperience."
Team members give credit for their success to coach Larson for his excellent recruiting. "Coach Larson is as good of a recruiter as you're going to find in our conference," said junior Josh Lowman. Freshman Martin Conterez was recruited from California to run for Concordia. "There are some really good teams (in the area), and Concordia is going to be one of those teams if they keep recruiting," said Conterez.
According to Conterez, Larson
has done more recruiting in his first year as Concordia's cross country
coach than has been done in the past. With the talents of several younger
runners, the Cobbers can look forward to success in the coming seasons
When St. Thomas coach Tom Hodgson approached Concordia's swimming coach Connie Kirchoffner at the Cobber's opening meet, he asked a question swimmers, coaches and fans alike were wondering - "How did you get so fast so soon?"
The Cobbers placed first in 10 of 13 events in their season opener Nov. 8 - a double-dual meet against St. Thomas and Hamline. Concordia beat Hamline 84-34 and St. Thomas 69-40. In addition to dominating the meet, the Cobbers set seven team records and five freshman records. Sixteen swimmers and four divers make up Concordias swim team in their second competitive season. Last year the Cobbers won only two dual meets and finished last in the MIAC. But this season kicked off with a talented group of freshman and a larger team and has shown significant signs of improvement already.
"We swam exceptionally well," said Kirchoffner. "We thought we had a chance to beat one of the teams, but we beat them both."
"It was unbelievable," said senior Erika Halvorsen. "Especially for the beginning of the season."
The team set several goals early in the season. "We want to finish better in the conference, have fun, and get faster," said captain Lindsay Bailey.
They are also aiming for steady improvement throughout the season and a top seven finish at the conference meet. After sweeping the double-dual, a conference win isn't out of the question either. "It would be a challenge," said Halvorsen. "I think we can do it. The potential is definitely there."
This weekend Concordia will have the opportunity to see how they rank among Division I, II and III schools from around the region when they travel to the University of Minnesota. Both Kirchoffner and team members indicated they will focus more on beating their own times and less on how they stack up against Division I swimmers and divers.
"We're going to be the underdog going in," said Halvorsen. "It's kind of nice because the pressure isn't there. And you're inspired by the other divisions."
"You go in there and swim against the clock," added Bailey. "You compete