Eutectic cross country head coach David Baker assembles the team for practices the week before classes begin in August.

Eutectic cross country head coach David Baker assembles the team for practices the week before classes begin in August. The six or seven meets on the schedule are held on weekends. The conference championship takes place in November.

Pollmann, Patel, and Chew Lead the Euts at AMC Championships

Bethany Chew
Senior Bethany Chew.
Photo by Jonathan Street.

On a bitter cold afternoon, with 30 mph winds, the Eutectic cross country teams competed in their first American Midwest Conference championship.  With an anticipated increase in the level of competition, the Eutectic team went to work. When it was all said and done, the Euts walked away with two first-team all-conference runners, a national qualifier, and said good bye to three seniors. 

"It was a pretty emotional morning,” said head coach David Baker. “I thanked Yang (Pan), James (Lidy), and Bethany (Chew) for being such leaders on our team and wished them the best of luck to finish their cross country careers on a high note. I could tell it got everyone a little pumped up to focus on the seniors."  

The three seniors all had season-best times, which, under the conditions, was phenomenal. With the cold and wind, most conference runners saw their finishing times more than a minute off their season best.   

"I shared a special hug and cry session with Beth and a number of our runners when she finished. That's what it's all about as a coach," Baker added. 

The highlight of the meet was the special performances by Sarah Pollmann and Janki Patel. Both ran two of the best races of their STLCOP careers to earn first-team all-conference honors, finishing fourth and 10th overall. Pollmann's performance qualified her for the NAIA National Championship for the third-straight year. Coach Baker noted that Pollmann kicked up her training the day she learned that STLCOP was moving to the AMC conference.   

"Sarah knew it would be tougher to qualify in the AMC and she simply worked her butt off preparing for the season," Baker said.  

“In any normal race, I’m not going to lie, the conditions probably would've gotten to me,” Pollmann said. “But going into the race and during the race, I knew what was at stake: a ticket to nationals - something that I've been working toward since June. I knew it was going to be a tough race with stiff competition, so I knew I was going to have to do whatever it took to finish in a qualifying spot.”  

Sarah Pollmann Janki Patel
Sarah Pollmann
Photoby Jonathan Street.
Janki Patel
Photo by Jonathan Street.

Pollmann got off to a fast start and was never out of the top-five positions during the race.  At the two-mile mark, she started to pull away from the chase group and moved into fourth place with about 400 meters to go. Pollmann finished just eight seconds behind Columbia College's number-two runner and beat William Woods’ number-one runner for the first time in her career. Both have PRs under 18 minutes. Patel's performance was equally impressive, as she earned her first first-team all-conference honor with her 10th-place finish. She would finish just 30 seconds away from the final national qualifying position. 

"Janki's really embraced training with Sarah this year,” said Baker. “She's pushed herself to reach the next level and it's pushed Sarah in the process. Both have gained from the work they've done together. I think she's starting to recognize that she can run fast enough to qualify on her own."  

Jamie Hundsdorfer, Bethany Chew, and Jenni Shaw rounded out the top five and the Eutectic women would go on to finish seventh overall. 

The NAIA national meet is up next for the Pollmann. Pollmann will attempt to crack the top 100, having finished 165th just a year ago, on Saturday, Nov. 22, at Rim Rock Farms in Lawerence, Kan.  

For nationals, my main goal is to break 19:30 and set a personal record,” Pollmann said. “It will be tough, because it's a very hilly course, but it's a great race to compete in!”

10.11.14 Pollmann Breaks Another STLCOP Record
9.20.14 Patel PRs at Southern Stampede

9.12.14 Pollmann Sets PR at Forest Park XC Festival

8.30.14 Pollmann Breaks Record; Euts Compete Well at Early Bird Meet 

11.9.13 Pollmann Named KIAC Runner of the Year; Eutectics Take Fourth in Conference

10.21.13 Pollmann Wins Springfield Invite, Named KIAC Runner of the Week; Eutectics Miss Victory by One Point

9.30.13 Patel Breaks STLCOP Record, Named KIAC Runner of the Week 

9.23.13 Eutectics Take Fifth at Forest Park XC; Pollmann is KIAC Runner of the Week

9.15.13 Euts Compete Well at Early Bird

8.23.13 High Expectations for Women's Cross Country Team

11.17.12 McKenzie and Pollmann Compete at Nationals

11.03.12 Eutectics Finish Fifth in KIAC

10.20.12 Eutectics Shatter Season PRs at the St. Louis Fall Classic

10.13.12 Eutectics Win Non-Division I Team Title at Evansville

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NAIA Champions of Character