December 1, 2007
2007 Men's Cross Country Review
Vikings make it back to NCAA Division III national meet for first time since 1996; Finish 15th in nation
Paul Olsen is a story teller. Always has been and probably always will be. During his 42 years as the head men’s cross country coach at Augustana, Olsen has become well known for using images, tales and fables to get the point across to his team. His 2007 edition provided the veteran coach with one more story to put into his bag of motivational magic.
Stinging from some less-than-desirable results in the NCAA Division III Midwest Regional meets over the past couple of years, the 2007 team was determined to shake the ghosts of regionals-past. All season long the Vikings were ranked in the top 20 of the NCAA Division III national polls. However, the year 1996 was etched into the collective minds of this team. That was the last time Augustana had qualified for the national meet. Some years they had been close and some years they had not run as well as hoped in the regional meet. This bunch was determined that 2007 would be the year that the Vikings would once again show up at the starting line for the national meet.
With that in mind, senior captain Dan Leonard (Fremd HS, Palatine, Ill.) gathered his team together on Thursday, November 8. It was after practice and Leonard, as feisty a competitor as anyone who ever pulled on a navy blue singlet, was ready to send a message. It was one that he wanted everybody on the team to get. He asked all the members to write down their biggest fears heading into the Midwest Regional on Saturday, November 10 at Lake Breeze Golf Course in Winneconne, Wisconsin. When he gathered all the sheets of paper from his teammates, he stuffed them in an old running shoe and set the whole thing on fire. When the blaze finally subsided, the shoe was a mass of melted nylon and rubber. What was left of it was nailed to the locker-room bulletin board for all to see.
Whether the burning of the shoe had anything to do with it or not, the Vikings responded two days later. They finished fourth in the 32 team NCAA Division III Midwest Regional and earned their first trip to the national meet in 11 years. It was an incredible performance as six teams ranked in the top 17 of the national poll were on the course that day in Northern Wisconsin.
Third ranked Wisconsin-LaCrosse won the meet with 70 points while ninth rated Wisconsin-Stevens Point was second with 76. Number seven North Central took third with 118 points and Augustana, which was ranked 17th, finished fourth with 152 points. Grabbing the fifth, and final qualifying spot, was 10th ranked Wisconsin-Platteville with 178. Number 15 Wheaton placed sixth with 210 points and did not earn a national slot.
It was balance that paved the way for the Vikings as only 40 seconds separated Augustana’s first finisher, Leonard, from its fifth man, sophomore Chris Zook (Normal Community HS, Normal, Ill.). Leonard led the way with a 15th place finish and a time of 24:47 over the 8,000 meter course. Senior Brad Holehan (Joliet Catholic HS, Shorewood, Ill.) took 26th in 25:02 and junior Andy Kubiak (Bloomington HS, Bloomington, Ill.) placed 30th in 25:10. Sophomore Brian Hart (St. Louis University HS, St. Louis, Missouri) was 37th in 25:17 and Zook was the fifth man in 44th place with a time of 25:24. Freshman Matt Bowman (Geneva HS, Elburn, Ill.) was 53rd in 25:33 and sophomore Dan Bailey (Deerfield HS, Deerfield, Ill.) placed 69th in 25:43.
At the national meet on Saturday, November 17 at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, the Vikings turned in a fine effort with a 15th place finish in the 32 team field. Augustana scored 423 points and finished ahead of CCIW champion North Central (16th with 434) for the second time this season. The Vikings had defeated the Cardinals at the Illinois Intercollegiate Championship in Normal, Illinois back on September 14. Leonard, ever the leader, was the first Augustana runner to hit the finish chute, placing 86th (63rd in team standings) with a time of 25:45. Holehan was 99th (73rd in team) with a clocking of 25:49. Zook placed 121st (90th) in 25:56 and Bowman took 130th (97th) in 25:59. The fifth man was Kubiak who was 134th (100th) in 26:00. Bailey placed 215th (167th) in 26:29 and Hart was 247th (195th) with a time of 26:59.
It was the culmination of a tremendous year for the Vikings. They started the season ranked 28th in the pre-season poll and consistently climbed up the ladder. They won the Brissman/Lundeen Invitational on September 21 for the fifth consecutive year. They were second in the Illinois Intercollegiate meet on September 14, losing only to Rend Lake and defeating eventual CCIW champion North Central by 15 points. Augustana was second in the Dan Huston Invitational on October 6 and fifth in the Wisconsin-Oshkosh Invitational on October 13. At the CCIW meet on October 27 in Normal, Illinois at the Illinois State University Golf Course, the Vikings tied for second with Wheaton as each team scored 62 points. Leonard and Kubiak were both in the top 10 individually with Leonard taking seventh in 25:36.91 and Kubiak placing ninth in 25:45.22.
2007 CCIW MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIP
October 27, 2007
Illinois State University Golf Course
INDIVIDUAL TOP 15 (plus Augustana finishers)
|3||Ryan Carrigan||North Central||25:25:6|
|5||Michael Spain||North Central||25:27:1|
|8||Kyle Brad||North Central||25:42:3|
|10||Brian Lesiewicz||North Central||25:46:7|
|11||John Lancaster||North Central||25:52:1|
|12||Nathaniel Hird||North Central||25:58:7|
|14||Sean Carlson||North Central||26:05:4|
2007 AUGUSTANA CROSS COUNTRY SUPERLATIVES
NCAA DIVISION III NATIONAL MEET: Vikings placed 15th in nation at NCAA Division III national meet in Northfield, Minnesota on Saturday, November 17…This was the first national meet appearance for Augustana since 1996…It was the 22nd trip to the national meet for the Vikings under the tutelage of veteran coach Paul Olsen, who completed his 42nd year at the helm of the program.
NCAA DIVISION III MIDWEST REGIONAL: Augustana finished fourth in the NCAA Division III Midwest regional on Saturday, November 10 in Winneconne, Wisconsin to qualify for the national meet. There were six teams ranked in the top 17 of the final NCAA Division III national poll in this particular regional.
Illinois Intercollegiate on 09/14 in Normal, Illinois – 2nd of 18 with 52 points
Brissman/Lundeen Invitational on 09/21 in Davenport, Iowa – Team champions (32 teams) for fifth year in a row with 43 points
Dan Huston Invitational on 10/06 in Waverly, Iowa – 2nd of 8 with 58 points
Wisconsin-Oshkosh Invitational on 10/13 in Winneconne, Wisconsin – 5th of 22 with 176 points
CCIW Championship on 10/27 in Normal, Illinois – 2nd of 8 with 62 points
INDIVIDUAL TOP 10 FINISHES
Augustana Open on 09/01 in Davenport, Iowa (Credit Island) – 3rd, Matt Bowman in 21:56…6th, Neil Driscoll in 22:28.1…8th, Joey Waldorf in 22:42.8…9th, Sean Carmody in 22:49.8…10th, Henry Lapka in 23:06.5.
Illinois Intercollegiate on 09/14 in Normal, Illinois (Illinois State University Golf Course) – 6th, Dan Leonard in 25:16.90…7th, Dan Bailey in 25:18.53…8th, Andy Kubiak in 25:20.08.
Brissman-Lundeen Invitational on 09/21 in Davenport, Iowa (Credit Island) – 3rd, Dan Leonard in 25:42…6th, Andy Kubiak in 25;52…10th, Dan Bailey in 26:07.
Dan Huston Invitational on 10/06 in Waverly, Iowa – 6th, Andy Kubiak in 27:40…9th, Brad Holehan in 27:58…10th Dan Bailey in 28:03.
CCIW Championship on 10/27 in Normal, Illinois (Illinois State University Golf Course) – 7th, Dan Leonard in 25:36.91…9th, Andy Kubiak in 25:45.22.
CCIW ACADEMIC ALL-CONFERENCE: James Beatty, Tyler Carlson, Robert Lyons, Charlie Noble, Tim Scanlin, Kevin Young, Kenny Slocum, Brian Hart, William Zook, Matt Bowman, Neil Driscoll, Ryan Miller
MOST VALUABLE PERFORMER – Dan Leonard
MOST INSPIRATIONAL – Brad Holehan
MOST VALUABLE FRESHMAN – Matt Bowman
MOST IMPROVED FRESHMAN – Sean Carmody, Henry Lapka, Greg Weigand, Matt Bowman
CAPTAINS FOR 2007 – Brad Holehan, Dan Leonard, Josh Sharko
CAPTAINS-ELECT FOR 2008 – Andy Kubiak, Kenny Slocum