by Hannah Haegele
Assistant Sports Editor
The University of Northwestern – Saint Paul cross country teams are ready to take the season by storm. This year both the womens’ and mens’ teams have many storylines to watch for. Through hours of tough summer and fall workouts, Eagle runners have been getting into tip-top shape in hopes of achieving their personal and team goals as they grow together.
Junior Ariel Andrews discussed the type of community that the cross country teams have. “Although most teams say they’re like family, I feel that cross-country teams really are like a family because we encourage each other to grow spiritually, emotionally and physically.”
In Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) preseason polls, the Eagle women are slated to come in the fourth place spot, but the team has set its sights high. The mens’ team graduated two valuable seniors last season. However it is looking to rebuild this year and is projected to be in the seventh spot in the UMAC preseason poll.
The season began for both teams on Aug. 30 at the Early Bird Triangular and will wind through courses across the area until it finishes up with the UMAC championships and the regional finals. Early season highlights included the women’s team taking first place in the Early Bird Triangular and Nick Krinkie making his UNW cross country debut with a first place finish in the 5K race. His time was 18:20.17. With a successful start to the season, the Eagles had UMAC opponent’s heads turning.
There are 10 members in the roster on the women’s side, including senior captain Samantha Wong. Wong is the lone senior on the team, but also returning is Sara Brook. At the heart of the team’s depth are the eight newcomers on the team: Ariel Andrews, Alyssa Arends, Lisa Grennslade, Emma Kelby, Mariah Long, Allison Morehead, Maria Olson and Abby Swanson.
On the men’s side of things, the Eagles have three lone runners Nick Krinkie, Isaac Shay and Jordan Barnes. In charge of both teams is head coach Steve Thiessen.