MIAC Men's Cross Country Notebook - October 11, 2018

Bethel's Ezekiel Lelinga finished the Roy Griak Invitational in 26:23, good for fourth place overall. (Photo: David Huffman)
Bethel's Ezekiel Lelinga finished the Roy Griak Invitational in 26:23, good for fourth place overall. (Photo: David Huffman)

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) men's cross country teams have reached the final weekend of regular season competition. MIAC squads are set to compete at five different meets around the country this Saturday before returning home to prepare for the 2018 MIAC Championships at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn. on Saturday, October 27.

POLL TALK
The latest USTFCCCA NCAA Division III Men's Cross Country National Coaches Poll was released on Wednesday and three MIAC squads cracked the top-35. St. Olaf leads the pack at No. 17, followed by Carleton at No. 20 and St. Thomas at No. 29.

MIAC teams also occupied five of the 10 spots in this week's Central Region rankings. The Oles, Knights, and Tommies rank Nos. 2-4, with Gustavus and Saint John's coming in at Nos. 9 and 10, respectively.

AROUND THE MIAC
Augsburg recorded five personal-best times at the Willamette Invitational in Oregon to close out the month of September. First-year Mohamed Salad clocked in at 26:41.7 on the 8,000-meter course, beating his previous personal-best time by nearly five full minutes.

Bethel sophomore Ezekiel Lelinga finished the Roy Griak Invitational at the University of Minnesota in 26:23, good for fourth place overall on an exceptionally challenging course to help the Royals claim second.

Lucas Mueller placed second out of 430 runners at the UW-Eau Claire Blugold Invitational, clocking in at 24:41.06, just 1.7 seconds shy of a first-place finish. The Carleton sophomore passed UWEC alumnus and 2017 NCAA D-III champion Darin Lau in the last few meters of the race to help the Knights fourth out of 24 teams.

Junior Eric Wicklund won his first collegiate individual championship at a multi-team meet last Friday, as he ran a season-best time of 25:39 to win the Jamestown Invitational. Wicklund's performance besting 69 other competitors in the field helped Concordia capture its first team cross country title since the 2014 season.

Gustavus sophomore Andrew Stumbo led a group of three Gusties to finish in the top-36 at September's Wartburg Invite. Stumbo placed fourth overall with a time of 25:40.5.

Frank Gustafson again served as the leader of the Hamline cross country team at the UW-Eau Claire Invite two weeks ago. The sophomore negotiated the 8K course in 26:10.0, topping the Piper pack.

Macalester's five scorers at the Roy Griak Invitational all finished within 30 seconds of each other. Junior Jake Lepak led the way for the Scots, covering the 8,000-meter course in 27:27.6 to take 20th. 

Saint John's senior James Mathison placed 35th among the 430-man field at the UW-Eau Claire Invite with a time of 25:54 on the 8,000-meter course.

Saint Mary's sophomore Isaiah Olsem clocked an eight-kilometer time of 27:10 to help the Cardinals to a 24th-place showing at the UW-Eau Claire Invitational.

St. Olaf senior William Anderson finished 10th overall and led the Oles to a second place finish out of 29 teams at the UW-Eau Claire Blugold Invitational two weeks ago. Anderson registered a career-best time of 25:07.7 for his second top-10 finish of the year.

St. Thomas junior Karl Wachter led the Tommies to second out of 19 teams at the Wartburg Dan Hutson Invite last month. In just his second race of 2018, Wachter placed third out of 298 finishers in 25:31.