The Oracle

Dedicated runners seek recognition

Some of Hamline’s hardest working athletes receive little attention.

Gino Terrell, Reporter

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Paul Schmaedeke, head coach of Hamline’s men’s and women’s cross country, said he typically reads The Oracle weekly and he said he doesn’t understand why the coverage for cross country is minimal.

He understands that they wouldn’t get weekly coverage because at times they have meets that are every other week.

However, the events they compete in are often overlooked by The Oracle, even when they may have set milestones.

Co-captain of men’s cross country senior Brendan Ruter seconded Schmaedeke’s statement.

“It was frustrating when we’d win conference and wouldn’t get any coverage,” Ruter said.

Prior to this season, the men’s cross country team had won the MIAC Conference title the past three seasons.

Ruter brought up when they achieved a huge milestone in the past, The Oracle would only have a small section for a story on cross country.

“[I] understand it’s not as appealing,” Ruter said, speaking about the sport.

He added how they should get as much recognition as other popular sports such as football.

Schmaedeke said that for the past three years he has been emailing the sports editor of The Oracle to ask for more coverage.

He said he simply doesn’t understand the fact that every week there’s a column for professional sports when there’s room for Hamline related sports, especially when some aren’t getting coverage such as his cross country team.

Schmaedeke says members of his team have been training for this season since the end of last season.

Ruter confirmed Schmaedeke’s statement. Ruter said he only had one week off after last season and over the summer ran for nearly 1,000 miles.

Since the start of the season, cross country members have been at work with even more intense preparation.

Ruter says the team has run close to 95 miles a week during the season.

Schmaedeke isn’t too concerned with the athletes wearing down because of the complementary system he has installed, balancing week by week how much the athletes train.

“Some weeks will be harder than others,” Schmaedeke said. “It’s never the same set amount of how much someone trains. One week they may rest up with light practice, and others they will practice intensely coming off a light-loaded week of practice.”

Ruter explained the schedule. Mondays and Wednesdays are typically the days where practice is at its highest level.

Their light practices are usually Tuesdays and Thursdays. Running 8-12 miles on those afternoons is considered a light practice for cross country teams.

On Friday’s, depending on if there’s an event the following day, Schmaedeke determines what workout team will do.

Ruter’s only day off of practice this season was due to injury. It’s safe to say that being a member of Hamline cross country is a 24/7, 365-day job as it appears that being a member of the cross country team is a lifestyle.

Schmaedeke has been coaching cross country for years and was even an athlete for Hamline’s cross country squad when he was a student. He has a genuine love for the sport.

“It’s hard to describe, but it’s a great activity, a great sport. Every athlete has an opportunity to improve,” he said.

He loves the fact that the team goes through practice all offseason and throughout the week for an event, and all members have the opportunity to put that hard work on the field.

In other sports, not every athlete on a team receives playing time on game day.

“There’s no bench in this sport. Everyone has the opportunity to play on game time,” Schmaedeke said. “That’s what makes our sport special.”

He said that there’s a lot of work involved in trying to play this sport. The hard work teaches life lessons to the athletes.

“Being persistent – being consistent – serve you well in life…they’re important characteristics to have,” Schmaedeke said.

On Nov. 2, Schmaedeke rested some of his players at the Fall Finale.

He wanted to give some of his younger players more experience and the other athletes time to recover for the NCAA Division III Central Regional, which was held on Saturday, Nov. 10.

Ruter predicted the team would surprise people at the region meet. It turns out he was right.

The women’s cross country team finished in 14th place out of 28 squads as junior Maria Theisen led the pack.

The men’s impressive performance placed them 9 out of 27. Ruter finished in 24th, followed by senior Nate Dobbins in 25th.

Cross country’s season finale is next Saturday, Nov. 27 at Terre Haute, Indiana, as they will fight for the NCAA Division-III Championship.

As for recognition, these athletes say they go through a lot to represent Hamline University.

With more strong performances, they hope they can finally get the recognition they deserve.

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Dedicated runners seek recognition