Kleinsasser to set the pace for Tabor cross-country squad


The Tabor College cross-country team?s returning seniors and letter-winners: front row, Carrie Schroeder, Jera Teselle, Tessa Siebert, Liz Kleinsasser, Tasheena Ruzinsky; back row, Nathan Adamyk, Dan Sigley, Ric Johnson, Zac Remboldt, Justin Ball.

Having placed fourth as a team at the NAIA regional, the Tabor College women?s cross-country team returns top runner Liz Kleinsasser for her sophomore season.

As a freshman, Kleinsasser placed fourth at the conference meet and 11th at the regional meet, earning all-conference and all-regional honors and leaving little doubt as to who the team?s No. 1 runner will be this season.

Kleinsasser qualified for and ran at the NAIA national meet last November, and she will look to improve on her personal record time of 18 minutes, 42 seconds this fall.

Tabor also returns juniors Jera Teselle, Carrie Schroeder, and Leah Kopper, all of whom will play key roles following the graduation of Sara Fogle, Shelby Miller, Heidi Schmidt and Amber Wiens. Teselle, Schroeder and Kopper typically ran between fourth and seventh on the 2007 team.

Also returning are three additional letter-winners: junior Tasheena Ruzinsky and sophomores Tessa Siebert and Elissa Richert. All ran their first season of college cross country in 2007. Coach Karol Hunt expects that the experience they gained will pay dividends this season.

Tabor?s top newcomer is Butler Country Community College transfer Christina Addison, who will have an immediate impact on the team.

?Christina has experience running at the junior college national level in both cross country and track,? Hunt said.

Track runners Julia Carlton and Kelli Kopper also join the cross-country program this season.

?Although a distance runner in track, this is Julia?s first experience at running cross country,? Hunt said.

Injuries have kept Kopper from competing in cross country in previous seasons.

?I am excited about this year?s team,? Hunt said. ?We had some key losses from last year, but I think our new runners and the experience of the returnees will help maintain our level of competitiveness.?

Men?s team

The Tabor men?s team also returns its No. 1 runner from 2007. Senior Zac Remboldt earned all-conference and all-region honors in 2007, placing 10th in the KCAC meet and 13th at the regional meet.

Remboldt was also one place away from qualifying for the national meet. Remboldt?s personal-best time is 27:31.

Junior Dan Sigley and sophomore Justin Ball will vie for key finishes. At the end of the 2007 season, Ball was just beginning to reach his stride running the 8-kilometer, according to Hunt.

?He ran his PR time of 28:52 at the regional meet,? she said. ?Justin is also coming off a strong track season.?

Sigley was the men?s most valuable runner during his freshman campaign, but experienced a slump last year, according to Hunt.

?He is poised to break out of that this season,? she said.

Other returning runners are junior Ric Johnson and Nathan Adamyk.

?Ric is running well right now and will add depth to the team,? Hunt said. ?Nathan was new to running last season, and will show great improvement this year.?

The newcomers to the team are Zach Gould, Dustin Burnett and Charles Wanjiku. Gould has not run competitively for a year, but should contribute significantly to the team. Wanjiku will also be key, though his debut with the Bluejays is pending.

?We are waiting for Charles to meet eligibility requirements before he can compete in a Tabor uniform,? Hunt said.

Hunt will be assisted by Pete Richert, who will serve a dual role with the team.

?As a freshman, he was the team?s No. 1 runner, but had a layoff while he served in Iraq,? Hunt said.

?An encounter with an IED (improvised explosive device) changed his life. He now runs with a prosthetic leg and plans to compete in a couple meets this season.

?When not competing, Pete is a student assistant coach with the team.?

Hunt has high hopes for the men?s squad.

?The men lost one runner due to graduation,? Hunt said. ?We have the core of the team back and with the addition of the new runners, we should be able to compete well. This is a dedicated group of runners who push each other.?

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