Cross country continues to improve at all levels
October 14, 2011
Returning to River Falls for his fifth year as the UW-River Falls’ men’s cross country head coach, Keven Syverson, has seen a “big improvement” from last year.
“The top four runners are much improved and developed from last year,” said Syverson.
Two years ago, Syverson said he has had the best year he’s ever had as a coach, last year was kind of a “rebuilding year” and this year he has seen great improvements.
The top four runners for the men’s team so far are: Jared Brandenburg, senior, Scott Bowman, senior, Mohamed Mohamed, freshman, and Jessop Keene, freshman.
At the Roy Griak Invitational at the University of Minnesota, the Falcons ended up in ninth place overall.
In their last race at the Blugold Invite in Eau Claire, all four top runners finished within three seconds of each other. Brandenburg has been a “big impact on the team and has set the tone for the second, third and fourth runners,” said Syverson. Brandenburg is from Independence, Wisc. and ran a 25:32 at the Blugold Invite, finishing seventh overall out of 372 runners. This time is also the eighth best in school history.
“I put in a lot of miles this summer,” said Brandenburg. “Probably double from last year (around 800).”
Brandenburg has very specific goals for the rest of his season. “I’d like to be at 25:15 at the next race and drop 15 seconds for every race after that,” said Brandenburg.
On the week of Sept. 13 Brandenburg was named the WIAC Men’s Cross Country Runner of the Week. That week, the Falcons ran in the Luther Invitational held in Decorah, Iowa. Brandenburg ran a 20:43, as compared to his time two years ago on the same course which was 21:57.
Brandenburg ran two years at St. Mary’s University and then decided to join the Falcons for his junior year. Brandenburg is a team captain along with fellow senior and No. 2 runner, Bowman.
“We’ve by far done much better this year,” said Bowman. “We’re a really tight group and this year we should have our four top runners running under 26 minutes.”
Syverson said he has high hopes for the remainder of the season. “We’re running well and we must continue to run well to finish the year strong.”
Not only is the men’s team performing this year, but also the women’s. According to the UWRF Sports Information website, the lady Falcons set four personal bests at the Blugold Invite in Eau Claire.
Katie Rydeen, junior, crossed the finish line at 23:09 (about 40 seconds faster than last year) leading the Falcons for the ninth straight race. Jackie Liebl, freshman, finished at 24:34 which was more than half a minute faster than her last race. Liebl was also named UWRF Runner of the Week for an outstanding performance at the Roy Griak Invite. Sophomore Kylie Dekkers crossed the finish line at 24:47, breaking the 25-minute barrier for the first time in her career along with sophomore Amanda Rothbauer.