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January 3, 2012

2011 Season - 2011 MEN'S CROSS COUNTRY REVIEW

Veteran Augustana head men's cross country coach Paul Olsen talks with NCAA Division III national meet qualifier Mike Tisza after a meet during the 2011 season. The Vikings finished the year ranked 25th in the nation and Tisza was the team's Most Valuable Runner.

Once again the Augustana men’s cross country team proved itself to be among the nation’s elite in 2011. The Vikings of veteran head coach Paul Olsen were nationally ranked all season long, climbing as high as 10 th in the NCAA Division III poll at one point in the season. By the end of the season Augustana was ranked 25 th in the final poll, which is conducted by the United States Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches Association.

Senior Mike Tisza (Hersey HS, Prospect Heights, Ill.) led the way for Olsen’s crew in 2011, earning Most Valuable Runner honors in a vote of his teammates. Tisza, a team co-captain this past year, had an outstanding campaign which saw him finish as the Vikings top runner in four meets.

He qualified for the NCAA Division III national meet in Oshkosh, Wisconsin by placing 15 th in the NCAA Midwest Regional on November 12 at Saukie Golf Course in Rock Island. Tisza opened the season with a second place finish in the Luther Invitational on September 10 in Decorah, Iowa and he was fifth at the Brissman/Lundeen Invitational on September 23 rd at Saukie. He was also the top Augustana finisher at the Wisconsin-Oshkosh Invitational on October 15 th, taking 35 th.

While Tisza earned MVP honors, the 2011 team was actually a pretty balanced bunch. Three other runners took turns in the number one spot in various meets. Senior Billy TenBusch (Prairie Ridge HS, Cary, Ill.) was the top finisher for the Vikings at the Illinois Intercollegiate Championship with a 27 th place. Junior Brian Pollastrini (York HS, Elmhurst, Ill.) finished second overall at the Wartburg Invitational and junior Jonathan Smith (Moline HS, Moline, Ill.) took 10 th in the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin meet.

Augustana started the 2011 season with a second place finish at the Luther Invitational on September 10 with Tisza leading the way with a second place finish individually. Smith was also in the top 10 at Luther as the Vikings placed second with 67 points, just one behind champion Wisconsin-LaCrosse.

Following the Luther meet, Augustana placed sixth in the Illinois Intercollegiates on September 16 in Normal, Illinois. Thanks to a mere 25 second spread between the first finisher (TenBusch) and the fifth, junior Justin Smith (Fenton HS, Bensenville, Ill.), the Vikings were able to defeat all but five schools in the 32-team field that included six NCAA Division I institutions.

Tisza took third individually at the Brissman/Lundeen Invitational on September 23 as the Blue & Gold scored just 43 points to run away with the team title in the 33-team meet. Jonathan Smith was fifth and Pollastrini took ninth.

Three Vikings finished in the top 10 at the Dan Huston Invitational at Wartburg on October 8 to help secure a second place finish in the 12-team meet. Pollastrini was second, Jonathan Smith was third and Tisza grabbed second. The Vikings lost the team battle to Loras by a scant nine points (63-72).

A 10 th place finish at the Wisconsin-Oshkosh Invitational on October 15 th in the 47-team meet may have seemed like a set-back but this meet featured a total of 12 teams that were ranked in the top 35 in NCAA Division III at the time.

Jonathan Smith led the Augustana effort at the CCIW meet at Montrose Harbor in Chicago, Illinois. He was 10 th individually and the Vikings were third, losing to North Central and Wheaton when those two clubs were ranked first and fifth, respectively, in the national poll.

The always tough Midwest Regional was the next meet on the schedule and Olsen’s club ran its way to a seventh place finish in the 39-team field with 203 points. Tisza covered the 8000 meter layout at Saukie Golf Course in 25:21.4 to take 15 th and qualify for the national meet.

While Tisza was named the MVP of the team, junior Justin Smith (Fenton HS, Bensenville, Ill.) was named Most Improved Runner and Nick Gornick (York HS, Elmhurst, Ill.) was the winner of the Most Valuable Freshman honor. Andrew Brimeyer (Dubuque Senior HS, Dubuque, Iowa) was named Most Improved Freshman for 2011.

The Most Inspirational Award was shared by Tisza, TenBusch and fellow seniors Thomas Christian (Port Angeles HS, Port Angeles, Wash.) and Colin Johnson (Deerfield HS, Deerfield, Ill.). The 2012 captains-elect are Jonathan Smith, Pollastrini and Tommy Harris (Davenport Assumption HS, Davenport, Iowa). All are currently juniors.

2011 CCIW MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIP

October 29, 2011 **** Montrose Harbor***** Chicago, Illinois

TEAM SCORES

PLACE

TEAM

SCORE

1.

North Central

15

2.

Wheaton

53

3.

AUGUSTANA

76

4.

Illinois Wesleyan

120

5.

Elmhurst

138

6.

Carthage

158

7.

Millikin

214

8.

North Park

250

 

INDIVIDUAL TOP 15 (plus Augustana finishers)

PLACE

RUNNER

SCHOOL

TIME

1.

Matt Perez

North Central

25:15.87

2.

Neal Klein

North Central

25:23.95

3.

Dan Kerley

North Central

25:30.42

4.

Kevin Sparks

North Central

25:30.53

5.

John Crain

North Central

25:30.80

6.

Mark Phillips

Wheaton

25:33.03

7.

James Waterman

Wheaton

25:39.84

8.

Jake Waterman

Wheaton

25:41.61

9.

Matthew Brinkmeier

North Central

25:41.87

10.

JONATHAN SMITH

AUGUSTANA

26:03.22

11.

Yonatan Mascote

North Central

26:04.47

12.

Mitch Gilbert

North Central

26:04.53

13.

Jake Austin

Elmhurst

26:08.40

14.

BILLY TENBUSCH

AUGUSTANA

26:09.31

15.

JUSTIN SMITH

AUGUSTANA

26:10.29

 

 

 

 

AUGUSTANA FINISHERS

 

 

 

20.

NATHAN SMITH

AUGUSTANA

26:23.00

24.

MIKE TISZA

AUGUSTANA

26:37.08

25.

BRIAN POLLASTRINI

AUGUSTANA

26:58.54

36.

NICK GORNICK

AUGUSTANA

27:35.24

 

2011 AUGUSTANA CROSS COUNTRY SUPERLATIVES

NCAA DIVISION III NATIONAL MEET: Senior, captain Mike Tisza competed at the Division III National Meet, hosted by UW-Oshkosh at Lake Breeze Golf Course in Winneconne, Wisconsin…He finished 110th after covering the 8,000 meter course in 25:21.52

NCAA DIVISION III MIDWEST REGIONAL: Augustana finished seventh out of 39 teams in the Midwest Regional, hosted by the Vikings at Credit Island Golf Course in Rock Island on November 12th…The 39 team field featured ten teams that were ranked in the top 35 nationally in NCAA Division III….Mike Tisza placed 15 th and qualified for the national meet.

NCAA DIVISION III NATIONAL RANKING: The Vikings finished the season ranked 25th in NCAA Division III by the US Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches Association.

NCAA DIVISION III MIDWEST REGIONAL RANKING: Augustana was ranked seventh in the NCAA Division III Midwest Regional by the US Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches Association

INVITATIONAL FINISHES

Luther All-American Invitational on 09/10 in Decorah, Iowa – 2 nd of 17 with 67 points

Illinois Intercollegiate on 09/16 in Normal, Illinois – 6 th of 32 with 154 points

Brissman/Lundeen Invitational on 09/23 in Rock Island, Illinois – 1 st of 32 with 43 points

Dan Huston Invitational on 10/08 in Waverly, Iowa – 2 th of 12 with 72 points

Wisconsin-Oshkosh Invitational on 10/15 in Winneconne, Wisconsin – 10 th of 47 with 278 points

CCIW Championship on 10/29 in Chicago, Illinois – 3 nd of 8 with 76 points

INDIVIDUAL TOP 10 FINISHES

Luther All-American Invitational on 09/10 in Decorah, Iowa – 2 nd, Mike Tisza in 20:35…6 th, Jonathan Smith in 20:44

Brissman-Lundeen Invitational on 09/23 in Rock Island, Illinois (Saukie Golf Course) – 5 th, Mike Tisza in 25:06.5…7 th, Jonathan Smith in 25:12.0.

Dan Huston Invitational on 10/08 in Waverly, Iowa – 2 nd, Brian Pollastrini in 26:15…3 rd Jonathan Smith in 26:16…7 th, Mike Tisza in 26:24

CCIW Conference Cross Country Championships on 10/29 in Chicago, Illinois (Montrose Harbor) – 10 th, Jonathan Smith in 26:04.

Luther JV Cup on 11/04 in Decorah, Iowa – 2 nd, Nick Gornick in 26:44.1

INDIVIDUAL AWARDS

CCIW ACADEMIC ALL-CONFERENCE: Andrew Brimeyer, Tyler Busch, Thomas Christian, Nicholas Gornick, Thomas Harris, Patrick Manser, Dennis O’Flaherty, Alexander Odenkirk, Brian Pollastrini, Jonathan Smith, Justin Smith, Nathan Smith, Michael Tisza, Isaac Trostle

CCIW “RUNNER OF THE WEEK”: Jonathan Smith on September 27

CCIW “JACK SWARTZ AWARD”: Mike Tisza

MOST VALUABLE RUNNER – Mike Tisza

MOST IMPROVED – Justin Smith

MOST VALUABLE FRESHMAN – Nick Gornick

MOST IMPROVED FRESHMAN – Andrew Brimeyer

MOST INSPIRATIONAL – Mike Tisza, Thomas Christian, Billy TenBusch, Colin Johnson

CAPTAINS FOR 2011 – Mike Tisza, Thomas Christian

CAPTAINS-ELECT FOR 2012 – Jonathan Smith, Brian Pollastrini, Tommy Harris