RIPON, Wis. — The Lawrence University men’s cross country team took home all the hardware at the Midwest Conference Championships on Saturday at Ripon College.
The Vikings won the team title for the first time since 1985, and junior Sam Stevens captured the first individual men’s title for Lawrence since 1985.
Lawrence took the team title with 51 points, edging Grinnell College by just two points. The win by Lawrence snapped Grinnell’s 14-year stranglehold on the trophy.
“I’m really happy,”¬†said Lawrence coach Jason Fast, who was named Coach of the Year. “The team worked really hard all year, and they deserve all the credit in the world. They definitely earned it today.”
Fast said they were tracking the results as the runners crossed the line, and he believed his team had won.
“I had a pretty good idea, but you never know,” Fast said. “It was too close to call.¬†I knew unofficially we had won, but we had to sweat it out and wait for the results.”
Stevens led the contingent of five runners to earn all-conference honors (the top 20 finishers are¬† all-conference) for the Vikings. Stevens won the 8,000-meter race in 25:09.11 to become Lawrence’s first individual champion since Eric Griffin won back-to-back crowns in 1984 and 1985. It also marked the third consecutive year Stevens has been an all-conference performer.
“Sam led wire-to-wire,” Fast said. “That was part of the plan. We needed him to do that and stretch the field out. It worked for us. There was nobody that was going to touch him today.”
Sophomore Curran Carlile and freshman Kyle Dockery finished fifth and sixth, respectively, for the Vikings. Carlile finished in 25:37.79 and Dockery came in at 25:40.04. Sophomore Jamie Brisbois was 19th in 26:23.13, and senior Sam Estrem rounded out the scoring in 20th in 26:29.27.
On the women’s side, senior Emily Muhs earned all-conference honors for the third consecutive season while leading the Vikings to a fifth-place finish.
Lawrence, which finished seventh last season, finished with 166 points. The Vikings edged Beloit (168) and Ripon (169) to finish in the upper half of the conference.
Muhs finished 12th and completed the 6,000-meter course in 22:32.97. Rosie Graber came in 30th, Anna Ratliff was 36th, Maggie Mahaffa was 41st and Cathy Kaye rounded out the scoring in 47th.