BEMIDJI, Minn. – With no seniors and only one junior, saying the Bemidji State University cross country team is young would be an understatement. The Beavers, under the direction of 25-year head coach Craig Hougen, are set to begin the 2013 campaign Friday, Sept. 6 when they host the 4,000-meter Greenwood Run at 2:30 p.m.
After finishing tied for 11th at the 2012 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Cross Country Championships, the Beavers were placed 11th in the 2013 NSIC Women’s Cross Country Preseason Coaches’ Poll. Unfortunately for BSU, the 2013 roster is missing four of the five athletes that contributed to the total team time from that 2012 meet. With three freshmen and seven sophomores on the roster, the squad is still learning what cross country at the collegiate level is all about.
“It’s a process for the young people to transition from a 4,000-meter race in high school up to 6,000-meter races in college,” Hougen said. “They have to have more of a distance runner mentality.”
Some newcomers have already started to find their stride, while BSU’s Athlete to Watch, sophomore Emily Turner (Bringham Lake, Minn.) came back from summer break in good shape. Turner posted a time of 26:56 at last year’s championship to finish 70th overall. She was consistently a top finisher for BSU as a freshman, which included finishing 22nd with a time of 16:45 in the 4,000-meter Valley City State University Invitational – her first-collegiate race.
“We have had two freshmen that have made that transition already and are getting better and better,” Hougen said. “I have a good idea of who our top four athletes are, but really, it is still wide open for our top five. It will be fun to see who shows up in the at the Greenwood Run.”
University of Wisconsin-Superior and Valley City State University will join the Beavers at Greenwood Golf Course in Bemidji, Minn. Friday.
For more information on the Bemidji State cross country program, follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BSUBeavers), like them on Facebook (facebook.com/BSUBeavers or Track&Fiield/CrossCountry Facebook) or sign up for the TXTUpdates from BSUBeavers.com text-messaging system through the "Multimedia" pull down menu on the main page of BSUBeavers.com.
Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).