ST. PAUL, Minn. – With three rookies and a sophomore among the squad’s top four finishers, the Carleton College women’s cross country team came up just short in defending its conference crown, finishing third at the 2012 MIAC Championships.
The quartet of Ruth Steinke (Fy./Lima, N.Y./Honeoye Falls-Lima), Shira Kaufman (Fy./Leverett, Mass./Amherst Regional Academy), Colette Celichowski (So./Shorewood, Minn./Minnetonka), and Sally Donovan (Fy./Minneapolis, Minn./South) each earned All-MIAC distinction. This was the second straight year Carleton had four all-conference performers and only the third time in team history.
Gustavus Adolphus won the 12-team competition with 57 points, followed closely by St. Olaf (60) and Carleton (68) in a race that came down to the final finishing loop, a distance of about 1200 meters.
“It was anybody’s ballgame at the end. Kudos to Gustavus, but I am so excited about this young team,” said Carleton head coach Donna Ricks. “We had a great meet; the team did a terrific job overall. What an exciting season so far!”
“To see how our young team performed was terrific, and it is going to bode well for the future.”
The team’s younger members vied for the head of the entire race, with Steinke taking ninth in 22:55.9. Kaufman finished on her heels at 22:59.8, which ranked 11th. Celichowski and Donovan took 14th and 15th with less than a second between them at 23:11.8 and 23:12.1.
The depth of the team showed through today as Carleton’s fifth runner, Rachel Klehm (Sr./Wellesley, Mass./Wellesley), placed 19th in 23:22.4 and Haley Johnson (Sr./Golden Valley, Minn./Robinsdale Cooper) placed 21st in 23:27.1, beating her time last year by 44 seconds as the pair picked up All-Conference Honorable Mention.
The Knights seventh and eighth racers also finished in the top 35.
Last year’s MIAC champion squad from Carleton was comprised almost exclusively of upperclassmen and was led by NCAA 2012 Woman of the Year Honoree Simone Childs-Walker ’12. This year, the Knights had three rookies score, while the other 11 squads had a grand total of five first-years score points. This year’s champion and runner-up were made up of only sophomores and older scored
The Carleton women will host St. Olaf for the Great Karhu Shoe Race on Wednesday, Oct. 31 at 4:30. Then it is on to the NCAA Central Regional Championships on November 10.