Sault Stryders
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LSSU Lakers at NCAA Cross Country Regional
Reported November 6, 2004 on LSSU Athletics
Sault Ste Marie, Michigan

Laker men finish 10th, women 11th at NCAA Cross Country Regional

Pavicic posts LSSU's best finish

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. - The Lake Superior State men's cross country team placed 10th among 19 teams and the women's team was 11th among 22 teams at the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Regional held Saturday at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.

Senior Anthony Pavicic was 29th in 33:27.46 to post the best finish for LSSU. Freshman Ben Tarbutton was 41st in 33:49.11, and was followed by freshman Chris Olds, who was 56th in 34:28.56.

"Last year our second men's runner was 80th," LSSU coach Drew Ludtke said. "This year seven men placed inside of 83rd and Pavicic moved up over 50 places from last year's finish. We are going to be a top 25 team in the nation if the team keeps working like it has been. It has been challenging because there are so many competitive runners at LSSU right now. They have worked well together. A lot of guys who did not get a chance to race this weekend are ready to run fast in the track season."

The Lakers' top seven also included Colin Vohlken (68th, 34:51.22), Tom Thornton (71st, 35:07.7), Emory Nelkie (78th, 35:18.80) and Richard Stein (83rd, 35:30.38).

Freshman Mandi DeBlock was 48th in 24:06.10 to lead the Laker women's team, which had five girls finish within 45 seconds of each other to move up three team positions from last year. Senior Amy Busfield was 52nd in 24:14.03, and junior Brooke Brenner was 54th in 24:16.51.

"Last year the women finished 14th," Ludtke said. "The year before we only had four girls running as this was my first year coaching. To move up so consistently says a lot about the athletes that are coming here to run. This year, placing just two points from a top-10 finish is something that we did not think was possible."

Rounding out the top seven for the women's squad were Jen Buerger (61st, 24:25.19), Kristen Carson (80th, 24:49.38), Christina Etapa (99th, 25:22.11) and Michelle Ballance (123rd, 26:34.91).

"Right now, half of the team has the work ethic and dedication to become successful runners and people," Ludtke said. "We are working on doing a few things to get the rest of the team to believe in themselves. This is how we are going to get to the next level. To achieve more, we have to do more and believe in ourselves. We are running well. But to get to the next level, all of our athletes have to start believing that extra rest, a healthy lifestyle and nutrition are important, not some obsessive thing that elite runners do."

For complete results, see for men's results and for women's results.