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Combellick, Keller pace UMM runners in opener

The University of Minnesota, Morris men's and women's cross country teams competed in the first meet of the season, running at Valley City State on Aug. 31.

The women's team had a great start led by senior Linda Keller. She opened up a quick lead with a 5:34 first mile. Her lead continued to grow as she won by 53 seconds with a school record time of 14:08 for the 4,000 meter race.

The first-year runners started out the year in fantastic fashion. Laura Borkenhagen and Rachel Wingenbach were the second and third runners for the Cougars with times of 16:25 and 16:38.

"The two did extremely well," said coach Jeremy Karger Gatzow.

Sophomores Halee Morris and LaNay Walker rounded out the top five with a personal record of 16:42 and a time of 16:43, respectively.

The men's race had an exciting finish as first-year runner Chalmer Combellick ran impressively for his first-ever cross country race. He took the lead in the first mile with a quick 4:59. He held the lead throughout the race with the lead growing as much as 10 meters only to be nipped at the finish line by a Concordia College runner. His time of 16:08 is a new school record for the cross country 5,000 meter race.

Other runners performing well include Dan Tiernan who finished with a time of 17:13 and Martin Zais with a time of 17:34.

"The race was a good test to determine the fitness level of the team. Our new runners looked impressive and I am excited to see their development during the season," said Karger Gatzow.

Morris will now head to Northfield to compete at St. Olaf College on Sept