New Cross Country Coach Starts with Small Teams

The men’s and woman’s cross country teams had a rebuilding year; runners improved through the season, but their teams could not score.

This Cross Country season, Mike Knipe stepped into the head coach position for the first time for both the men’s and women’s teams. Along with assistant coaches Kara Hurst, Bill Green, and Brian Palmer, Coach Knipe and the rest of the team looked forward to their final meet on November 2nd to close out the season. 

The mens and womens cross country teams have both ran four meets in total this season. The teams were also scheduled to compete in the “St. Kates Invitational,” but it was unfortunately cancelled due to weather conditions. 

Both the mens and womens cross country teams consist of four runners competing on each team. Although they do not meet the five-runner requirement to place as a team in their meets, they have made gains individually and together as a squad.

“Noah Durbin has improved tremendously from the start of the year until now,” said Coach Mike, “His times are not even comparable.”

Jack Campbell, Andrew Carlock, and Max Vasilchuk, “have all hovered really close to those PR (personal record) times they’d like to get. There’s no doubt in my mind that by the end of the season, they’ll touch some of those goals,” said coach Knipe.

On the Women’s side, Coach Mike applauds Bri Hill, who he says, “has probably been the most improved of all our runners. She’s improved tremendously.” Coach Mike also says during the last meet he was “super impressed with Aine Enget and Ianna Enget, and the way that they compete, and the way they go after trying to do their best.” Anchoring the team with her strong talent is senior captain Raen Barcelon, who has been crucial to leading the team on and off the course.

In the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference Championship meet which was held Nov. 2nd 2019 in Superior, Wisconsin, athletes joined the mens and womens teams so that they were able to race with five runners in order to score as a team. 

When asked about hopes and goals as far as placement in the UMAC, Coach Knipe replied, “The reality is we’re gonna go out there and we’re going to compete. And wherever the chips fall, they fall. That’s going to be how we approach it. The UMAC has some notably tough teams with mens and womens teams fighting for placement.” Coach Mike states, “I don’t think that our team is there this year… that we’re in a position to compete with that. What we are in a position for is to be the best versions of ourselves. That’s the foundation that we’re laying, so that in the future when we do have future teams where the conversation is about competing for the UMAC championships, a foundation has already been laid.”