JAMESTOWN, N.D. (10/06/17)--- Concordia rested several of its top runners at the Jamestown Invitational but Eric Wicklund continued his stellar sophomore season and helped the Cobbers to a sixth-place finish.
Wicklund posted another Top 10 finish at a meet which featured mainly NCAA Division II and NAIA competition. He crossed the line in a time of 25:45 which was good for ninth place. Wicklund has now placed in the Top 10 in two meets this season and has led the Cobbers in three of the four events he has raced in this year.
Freshman Noah Kneeskern was the only other Cobber to place in the Top 30 at the meet. He clocked a 26:56 and came home in 27th place.
Senior Nick Solheim, freshman Connor Haugrud and senior Brendan Johnson were the three other Cobber athletes who factored in the team score at the meet. All three were within six finishing spots of one another and a total of 26 seconds separated the trio. Solheim ran a 27:22 and was the No.36 finisher. Haugrud crossed the line in 38th place in a time of 27:44 and Johnson posted a mark of 27:48 and was the No.40 finisher in a race which featured 81 athletes.
HEAD COACH QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS: After the meet Cobber head coach Garrick Larson answered questions about the team's performance and the strategy to rest some of his top runners.
Q: Why hold 3 of your top 5 out of today's race?
Head Coach Garrick Larson: Cross country is not like other sports, for example football where a loss in any single game could cost you the championship or a playoff spot. In cross country our MIAC Championship is determined on one day and we've got to be ready for THAT day. If it means holding some top guys out to increase our chances for the conference championship, then that's what we've got to do.
Q: How did the team look today?
Head Coach Garrick Larson: We were a small but mighty group today. The guys who ran posted spectacular times on a flat, hard, but legitimate length course. We averaged 27:07 for our top 5 today without 3 of our top 5. Just 3 weeks ago we ran at full strength and averaged 28:02. It sure helps that it wasn't 85 degrees and super humid.
Eric Wicklund blasted a 25:45 to lead the team and finish 9th against some really tough NCAA DII competitors. He's been crushing some awesome workouts the last two weeks. He's got a couple little nagging injuries with all the hard training, but I think he's going to come out safely on the other side and really be ready for MIAC in 3 weeks."
Q: What's up for next week?
Head coach Garrick Larson: Next week we go run with the big dogs, the NCAA DI kids at UND, where we will also see NDSU, SDSU, U of Manitoba, and some other quality NAIA teams. It's our last race before the MIAC Championships, so we hope to be running the full team at full steam. We'll be hiding from the rest of the MIAC who will all be competing at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse; it's kind of the pre-MIAC race with just 2 weeks to go. We've seen every MIAC team this fall except St. John's, so we know where we stand. With a young team it's almost better if we don't compete against the MIAC again until conference. It leaves our team thinking like I am, that we can go into MIAC and surprise some teams and make a bigger impact.
WHAT'S NEXT: Concordia will travel north to compete in the Ron Pynn Classic hosted by the University of North Dakota on Saturday, Oct. 14 at 12:45 p.m. That will be the last meet before the MIAC Championship Meet on Saturday, Oct. 28 at St. Olaf.