Big Lake, Minn. / Big Lake
St. Olaf's Noelle Olson (Big Lake, Minn.) started her collegiate career in grand fashion over the weekend. The first-year runner finished first out of 66 runners while leading the Oles to victory Friday at the Mac-Ole Time Trial in St. Paul, Minn. Thanks to her spectacular college debut and first-place finish, Olson was named the first MIAC Women's Cross Country Athlete-of-the-Week of the 2013 season.
Olson completed the 4K course with a tremendous time of 14:26.7. She was the first to cross the finish line, beating teammate Jorden Johnson - who finished ninth at the 2012 Division III Championships - by 23 seconds for the win. Olson was the only runner to break 14:30, and only one of three to break 15:00 at the season-opening time trial. She led the Oles to a 20-40 victory over the Scots as 11 of the first 14 runners to cross the finish line hailed from St. Olaf.
The Oles hope their team - and new first-year runner - can continue the hot start on their home course this weekend. Saturday, St. Oalf will host an alumni race at 10 a.m. The Oles and Olson will return to competition the following Saturday - Sept. 14 - when they travel across the border into Wisconsin for the UW-River Falls Invite in River Falls, Wis.