Nov. 9, 2012
GALESBURG—The Carl Sandburg College men’s and women’s cross county school records could be in jeopardy at the NJCAA Division I national meet Saturday morning at Rend Lake College in Ina.
Both Sandburg runners who qualified for nationals — Haley Bolliger in the women’s race and Derek Foley in the men’s race — are well within striking distance of their respective marks.
Bolliger, a freshman from Tremont, came a second away at the Region IV meet from breaking the Sandburg women’s record of 20 minutes, 4 seconds set by Jessica Hanson in 2007. Hanson set the mark at the national meet, which took place on the same course Bolliger will run Saturday.
“I’m almost sure she’ll break the record,” Chargers coach Bruce Tracy said. “She was a second away at the region meet, and that was a much more difficult course than this one will be.”
School record or not, Bolliger said she’s thrilled to qualify for nationals in just her second year of cross country. She ran sprints for the Tremont High School track and field team before going out for cross country as a senior.
“I never thought I’d even be going to college for cross country. It was really a big surprise,” Bolliger said. “I want to do well, but even if I don’t do well or get the record I’ll be proud of myself just for getting to that point. I didn’t think I’d ever get down to 20 minutes like I have.”
Foley, a sophomore from Galva, has a chance at the school record in his final race as a Charger. His season-best time of 27:41 came at the Illinois Intercollegiate in September at Normal’s Weibring Golf Course. Wesley Brandbenburg set the school record with a time of 27:03 at the 2006 national meet in El Paso, Texas.
“I’ve never really made it to a big race like this,” Foley said. “I made it to sectionals in high school, but I never made it to state. I’m pretty excited to go.”
Although Foley is farther off the school-record pace than Bolliger, Tracy said Foley still has a shot at reaching Brandenburg’s mark.
“Derek’s in really good shape for this race,” Tracy said. “The key for him is not getting trapped in a big pack. If he can avoid that, I think he’ll have a good chance.”
The women’s race is scheduled for 10 a.m. and the men’s race is set for 11 am.
Haley Bolliger and Derek Foley