ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The St. Olaf men's cross country team turned in a historic performance Saturday to capture their third-straight Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) championship. Fittingly, the Oles were further honored for their excellence Thursday as they swept the top individual honors as the MIAC announced the 2014 MIAC Men's Cross Country Awards.
St. Olaf's Grant Wintheiser made MIAC history Saturday as just the second runner ever to win three-straight MIAC individual titles, and his third-straight MIAC Men's Cross Country Athlete-of-the-Year award followed on Thursday to cap his incredible cross country career in the conference. His coach was also recognized for the Oles' performance, as Head Coach Phil Lundin was voted the MIAC Men's Cross Country Coach-of-the-Year by his peers for the third season in a row.
Wintheiser's third-straight individual title came courtesy of an 8K time of 24:47.5. He shaved more than a second off his winning time from a year ago, and his time is the second-fastest at the MIAC Championships since 1969. In addition to becoming just the second MIAC men's runner to win three championships in a row - St. Thomas' Bert Budd also did it from 1949-1951 - Wintheiser is just the third to win the MIAC title a total of three times, as Saint John's John Cragg also won three in 1967, 1969 and 1970.
This year, Wintheiser's winning time was more than 12 seconds faster that teammate Jake Campbell, who was the runner-up, and he led a quartet of Oles across the finish line as St. Olaf swept the top four spots, and five of the top six. The 2014 MIAC Athlete-of-the-Year honor is Wintheiser's fourth career MIAC MVP award, as he also won the 2014 MIAC Men's Indoor Outstanding Track Athlete honor last winter.
Lundin - now in his seventh season at St. Olaf - guided the Oles to their third MIAC Championship in a row, and their seventh men's cross country title overall. This is Lundin's third-straight MIAC Men's Cross Country Coach-of-the-Year honor, and his fourth overall after also winning in 2008. He was also named the 2013 MIAC Men's Indoor Track and Field Coach-of-the-Year in March, in addition to four Big Ten Coach-of-the-Year awards during his tenure at the University of Minnesota.
Somehow, Lundin's squad was even better than a year ago, as they shaved four points off their 2013 score to win with just 16 points. St. Olaf runners finished 1-4 and No. 6 to give the team its total, which matches the second-best mark in MIAC Championship history. The Oles tied St. Thomas' 16 points in 1948, and the total is just one off the conference record, which was achieved by St. Thomas in 1952 and Macalester in 1955, 1963 and 1964. St. Olaf's score is the lowest recorded in MIAC Championship history since 1964. This season. Lundin coached five All-Conference runners and two more that received Honorable Mention honors.
In addition to the top individual honors, the MIAC Men's Cross Country All-Conference and All-Conference Honorable mention squads were also recognized. The top 15 finishers in Saturday's MIAC Championship race received All-Conference honors, while finishers 16-25 received Honorable Mention.
St. Olaf led the way with five All-MIAC performers. Runner-up Carleton had three, St. Thomas had two and Saint John's, Gustavus, Hamline and Macalester had one each. The Oles and Saint Mary's each had two Honorable Mention runners and St. Thomas, Hamline, Carleton, Augsburg, Gustavus and Saint John's had one each.
Carleton and Saint John's had two apiece and Bethel, Gustavus, Augsburg, Saint Mary's and Hamline each placed one in the top 15. St. Thomas dominated the Honorable Mention squad with five out of the 10 honorees, while St. Olaf had two and Carleton, Concordia and Saint John's had one apiece.
As part of a conference-wide sportsmanship initiative, the MIAC announced the ninth annual All-MIAC Sportsmanship team for Men's Cross Country. Members of the All-MIAC Sportsmanship team are selected by their coaches and teammates as individuals who demonstrate ideals of positive sportsmanship both on and off the field of competition.
2014 MIAC Men's Cross Country Awards
Athlete-of-the-Year: Grant Wintheiser, St. Olaf (Sr., Sartell, Minn. / Cathedral)
Coach-of-the-Year: Phil Lundin (Seventh season)
2014 MIAC Men's Cross Country All-Conference Team
|1.||24:47.5||Grant Wintheiser||St. Olaf||Sr.||Sartell, Minn. / Cathedral|
||Jake Campbell||St. Olaf||Jr.||Edina, Minn.
||Jake Brown||St. Olaf||Sr.||St. Paul, Minn.
||Hart Hornor||Carleton||Jr.||Seattle, Wash. / Roosevelt
||Jr.||La Crosse, Wis. / Logan
||Jr.||Omaha, Neb. / Mount Michael Benedictine
||Jr.||Madison, Wis. / West
||So.||Sauk Center, Minn.|
||Dylan Baumann||St. Thomas
||Jr.||Wells / United South Central
||Sr.||North Saint Paul, MN|
||Macalester||Sr.||St. Charles, Ill. / St. Francis Prep
||Nathan Rock||Hamline||Jr.||Inver Grove Heights, Minn. / Rosemount|
2014 MIAC Men's Cross Country All-Conference Honorable Mention
||So.||Glendale Heights, Ill. / Glenbard East|
||Aaron Haley||Saint Mary's||Sr.||Plainview, Minn. / Plainview/Elgin-Millville
||Sr.||North Saint Paul, Minn.
||So.||Plano, Texas / West
||Jr.||Eden Prairie, Minn.
||Fr.||Maple Plain, Minn. / Orono
||Preston Zimny||Saint John's||Jr.||Royalton, Minn. / Little Falls
2014 Men's Cross Country All-MIAC Sportsmanship Team
Augsburg - Chris Huss (So., Jordan, Minn.)
Bethel - Matt Berka (Jr., Fond du Lac, Wis.)
Carleton - Thor Laack-Veeder (Sr., Madison, Wis. / LaFollette)
Concordia - Mitch Messner (Sr., Hutchinson, Minn.)
Gustavus - Matt Carlson (Sr., Roseville, Minn.)
Hamline - Chris Gill (Sr., North Saint Paul, Minn.)
Macalester - Joe Giamberdino (Sr., St. Charles, Ill. / St. Francis Prep)
Saint John's - Kyle Rossow (Sr., St. Louis Park, Minn. / Hopkins)
Saint Mary's - Andy Meyer (Sr., Tucson, Ariz. / Archbishop O'Hare)
St. Olaf - Andy Olson (Jr., Minneapolis, Minn. / Southwest)
St. Thomas - Jacob Gerhartz (So., Sauk Center, Minn.)