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MLC men, women cross-country teams picked 4th in UMAC preseason polls

Information courtesy of MLC Athletics

MLC men

NEW ULM ­­– The Martin Luther College men’s cross-country team was picked to finish fourth in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) Preseason Coaches’ Poll released by the conference on Thursday.

The Knights received 46 total points in the poll, trailing Minnesota Morris’ third-place total of 49 points by only three. St. Scholastica was picked to win the conference with 60 total points and four first-place votes. UW-Superior was picked second with 59 total points and five first-place votes.

MLC finished last season’s UMAC Cross-Country Championships in fourth place with 100 total points. All-UMAC performers Ethan Carter and Ryan Gurgel are set to return to lead the way for this year’s team, while Jacob Melso and Josh Brands also return from last season’s top five.

New head coach Greg Diersen takes over the program this fall from Matt Pearson with a wealth of experience coaching distance runners. Diersen coached cross country at Great Plains Lutheran High School (GPLHS) from 1999-2011, and also served as an assistant at Minnesota Valley Lutheran High School (MVL) the last six seasons. Diersen also assisted the MLC track and field program for the last six seasons, working mainly with distance runners.

MLC women

NEW ULM — The Martin Luther College women’s cross-country team was picked to finish fourth in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) Coaches’ Poll released on Thursday.

The Knights finished the poll with 42 total points in fourth place. Defending UMAC champion St. Scholastica was the unanimous choice to win the conference with 64 total points and eight first-place votes in the poll. Minnesota Morris (56 points, one first-place vote) and UW-Superior (49 points) rounded out the top three of the poll.

MLC finished last year’s UMAC Cross-Country Championships in fourth place with a total of 99 points. Emmalie Olsen, Aimee Olsen and Eliza Punzel figure to lead this year’s team as returning performers.

New women’s cross-country head coach Breanna Olson will look to make her mark in her debut season this fall as she takes over for Matt Pearson. Olson brings five years of experience coaching track and field from New Ulm High School, including two years of experience as the head coach of that program.

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