Women’s cross country runners take gold
Erin McGroarty / Sun Star Reporter
September 7, 2011
A soft summer breeze rustled the branches of the trees on either side of the path as autumn sun shone down onto the wooded
trail. To the untrained eye, this would seem as relaxing as it could get. However, tension was in the air. The University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) women’s cross country team jogged past in a large group, completing one last warm up loop before the men’s race began at 10 a.m Sept. 3, the final day of the cross country meet. Three teams attended the three-day meet on the UAF Ski trails: UAF, Montana State University Billings (MSUB) and Seattle Pacific University (SPU).
As the men’s team situated themselves on the starting line, spectators stepped off the trail to make room. The gun sounded and the race began. Tyler Kornfield, UAF junior, took an immediate lead before they rounded the first corner, but he was soon followed by Brian Potter, MSUB junior, and Alex Horton and Jacob Wahlenmaier of SPU. This front pack took off, leaving the remains of the three teams to follow in their dust. One and a half laps later, the same group led the race. Potter had a clear lead as he sprinted toward the finish line, taking in first place with a time of 12:49. Potter was soon followed by Alex Horton, SPU freshman. Horton finished with a time of 12:58.9, only 1.6 seconds ahead of his teammate, Jacob Wahlenmaier, SPU senior. Tyler Kornfield of UAF followed soon after with 13:07.2, narrowly beating Will Harrison of SPU and taking fourth place overall.
While the UAF men’s team remained in third place for team points, the UAF women’s team took first place for team points for the second day in a row. Soon after the start of the women’s race, Heather Edic, a UAF junior, and Crystal Pitney, a senior, joined the lead pack with fellow teammate Theresia Schnurr. They were accompanied by MSUB teammates Renae Hepfer, a freshman, and junior Whitney Mickelsen. SPU senior Natty Plunket came up the last hill before the finishing shoot and took the lead, sprinting to the finish line with a time of 15:14. Plunket was followed by teammate junior Heidi Laabs-Johnson with a time of 15:18. Edic finished in third with a time of 15:21. Overall, the women’s team took first place for team points on both Thursday, Sept. 1, as well as Saturday, Sept. 3, helping to ease the pain of the UAF men’s team staying in third place, being narrowly beaten by MSUB by two points.