December 2017 Athletes of the Month

1/9/2018
 
 

MENDOTA HEIGHTS—The month of December was full of championship racing both on the roads and the cross country course, including the Nike Cross Nationals meet for high school cross country runners and the USATF Marathon Championships, among many other races and meets. Minnesotan athletes finished off 2017 with a bang, highlighted by the Wayzata High School Girls Cross Country team placing 7th at Nike Cross Nationals and with 40-year-old Minnesotan Eric Loeffler running 2:17:34 at the California International Marathon to finish 25th in the USATF Marathon Championships - earning both Eric and the entire Wayzata Girls team the title of USATF Minnesota’s December Athletes of the Month.
 
The Wayzata Girls Cross Country Team ended their 2017 season with an impressive 7th place team finish at Nike Cross Nationals on December 2nd in Portland, Oregon, showing that they were truly one of the best teams in the country this fall, as well as giving them the title of USATF Minnesota’s Girls Athletes of the Month. This year’s team at Nike Cross Nationals consisted of:
 
·         Emma Atkinson—Sophomore (placed 37th in 18:35.0 for the 5k course)
·         Caroline Sassan—Sophomore (44th in 18:41.2)
·         Rhynn Paulsen—Sophomore (72nd in 19:05.7)
·         Emelia Arnone—Freshman (119th in 19:43.7)
·         Lauren McCollor—Freshman (143rd in 20:02.2)
·         Brooke Young—Senior (171st in 20:34.4)
·         Carmen Rottinghaus—Senior (173rd in 20:37.2)
 
The Wayzata Girls also captured this year’s Minnesota State High School Cross Country title for Class AA, their fourth title since 2012. They are coached by Dave Emmans, who was recently awarded the Minnesota State High School Coach of the Year by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, as well as assistant coaches Addy Hallen and Alison Coffey. With five out of their top seven runners returning next season, they should have a strong team yet again in the fall of 2018.
 
Eric Loeffler, a native of Fergus Falls, Minnesota and alumni of North Dakota State University, is USATF Minnesota’s Men’s December Athlete of the Month after finishing 25th overall at the 2017 USATF Marathon Championships hosted by the California International Marathon on December 3rd in Sacramento, CA. Loeffler’s time of 2:17:34 is impressive at any age, but even more impressive given Loeffler is 40 years old. He was also able to win the Masters competition within this race, with the next master’s athlete finishing about four minutes behind Loeffler.
 
Loeffler’s performance also earned him the “B” qualifying standard for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, which would be his third appearance at the Olympic Trials after 2012 and 2016. His current personal best for the marathon is from the 2015 Grandma’s Marathon where he ran 2:16:48.
 
 
Honorable Mention Worthy Performances in December
 
Men:
·         Malcolm Richards from Minneapolis South High School and an alumni of St. Olaf College, placed 6th in the USATF Marathon Championships (hosted by the California International Marathon) in a time of 2:13:28.
·         Trent Lusignan from Shakopee and current member of the Hansons-Brooks Original Distance Project team placed 23rd at the USATF National Club Cross Country Championships in Lexington, Kentucky on December 9th.
·         Danny Docherty from St. Paul and current member of Team USA Minnesota finished 55th at the USATF National Club Cross Country Championships in Lexington, Kentucky on December 9th.
·         Khalid Hussein from Wayzata, our November Athlete of the Month, finished 10th in 15:28.5 at the Nike Cross Nationals meet on December 2nd in Portland, Oregon.
·         The Wayzata Boys Cross Country Team finished 11th as a team at the Nike Cross Nationals meet on December 2nd in Portland, Oregon.
 
Women:
·         Meghan Peyton from Richfield, our October Athlete of the Month, was 14th in a personal record time of 2:37 at the USATF Marathon Championships (hosted by the California International Marathon).
·         Emily Covert from Minneapolis Washburn High School placed 9th at the Nike Cross Nationals meet on December 2nd in 19:08.6, and then placed 9th at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships in San Diego, CA on December 9th in 17:58.8.
·         Tierney Wolfgram from Math & Science Academy, our November Athlete of the Month, placed 27th at Nike Cross Nationals on December 2nd in 18:19.0, and then placed 7th at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships on December 9th in 17:51.9.
·         The Edina Girls Cross Country Team finished 11th as a team at the Nike Cross Nationals meet on December 2nd in Portland, Oregon.
 
 
We welcome your nominations!
To nominate an athlete for USATF Minnesota’s Athlete of the Month award, please send a detailed email about his/her performance to mskuzara@csbsju.edu with the subject line “Athlete of the Month Nomination”.

Fans can follow along with USATF Minnesota on FacebookTwitter, and online at www.minnesota.usatf.org.
 
Maxwell Kuzara
Athlete of the Month Committee Chair
USA Track & Field Minnesota
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