Luther’s men and women grabbed a pair of home victories over UW-La Crosse on Oct. 19. The wins came less than a week after a similar matchup at the UW-La Crosse Jim Drews Invitational on Oct. 13.
The women dominated the 4k race by placing five runners in the top six spots for an 18-42 victory. Leading the women was race winner Lauren Mordini (‘16) with a time of 15:20, ahead of teammate Lauren Stokke (‘13), who took second place with 15:36.
Casey DeLima / Chips
“Receiving this personal and team victory as a freshman is definitely a confidence booster,” Mordini said. “It was really exciting to see the team do so well against a great competitor.”
Mordini noticed a relaxed mindset when compared to other races.
“I know it’s a good race to try to run with my teammates and have fun,” Mordini said. “I don’t feel as much pressure since there is only one other team.”
Rounding out Luther’s top five were Lisa Wegman (‘13), Nicole Powers (‘14) and Bailey Mulholland (‘15) in fourth, fifth and sixth places, respectively.
Luther edged away with a 23-34 victory against their oldest dual rivals. Since 1955, Luther and UW-La Crosse have raced 57 times.
In the men’s race, Jackson Espeset (‘16) took second place in the four-mile with a time of 21:22, leading a group of five Luther runners placing in the top eight. Soren Thompson (‘14) finished on Espeset’s heels with a time of 21:24.
Tony Chase / Chips
Matt Rubins (‘13), Brock Laue (‘13) and Matt Weitzel (‘14) finished fourth, sixth and eighth to round out the field of Norse runners.
Thompson sees a strategic difference between dual meets and regular meets.
“Running together in pack is crucial because there is no one else out there,” Thompson said. “It’s easy to get stuck running by yourself, which is no fun.”
Thompson also enjoys the simplicity of having only two teams in a dual meet.
“I like the dual because it gives everyone a clear goal to focus on,” Thompson said. “You know who you’re racing against and who to go after.”
Women’s Head Coach Yarrow Pasche spoke about how the dual is important both historically and in the context of the season schedule.
Tony Chase / Chips
“UW-La Crosse has a very strong program year in and year [out],” Pasche said. “This makes for an excellent race as both teams prepare for their conference meet the following weekend.”
Pasche also commented on the contribution of first-years, who have been more present this year in all campus sports, not just cross country.
“We have an outstanding group of first-years,” Pasche said. “It’s exciting to see them come into their own as the weeks pass.”
The Norse will begin post-season competition with the IIAC Championship meet on Saturday, Oct. 27 at 11 a.m. in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.