Rain ruins women’s cross country race

The women Blugolds had a difficult time racing in the rain in the Tori Neubauer Invite.

“The ground got really ripped up,” junior Betsy Coy said. “The ground was really soft. We couldn’t get our footing.”

The running times were affected by that weather.

“We couldn’t go for times,” Coy said. “Our times were really slow.”

The Blugolds finished 11th out of 30 teams. Host team UW-La Crosse won the race. UW-Stevens Point took fifth.

Both teams are in the WIAC, Eau Claire’s conference. Both teams are also ranked in the NCAA Division III Women’s Cross Country Poll. La Crosse is ranked fourth and Stevens Point is ranked 12th.

“We were focusing on La Crosse and Stevens Point,” Coy said. “We only lost to Stevens Point by 100 points. That’s not a lot.”

In her second race, freshman Jane Ovanin took 39th place overall and first for the Blugolds, in a time of 19:36.

“Ovanin’s really strong,” Coy said. “She recovered really well. She’s a strong part of the team.”

Ovanin was impressed by the level of the competition.

“The caliber is greater,” Ovanin said. “Each race is like the state high school race.”

Ovanin ran her first race, the Midwest Short and Long Course Championship, on Oct. 5. She took 18th place in a time of 18:58.

“It felt wonderful,” Ovanin said about running her first race. “It was really exciting.”

Ovanin was named the athlete of the week by the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC).

“It’s cool,” Ovanin said. “I’m honored.”

The second finisher for Eau Claire in the Tori Neubauer Invite, was sophomore Melissa Wright, who finished in 19:49, good for 53rd place. The third finisher was sophomore Nikki Johnson in 19:55, for 58th place. The next two finishers were freshman Missy Paulson, 19:59, 64th place, and freshman Caitlin McCullough.

“I thought we did alright,” Ovanin said.

The team was split into varsity and junior varsity teams for the race. Sophomore Sara Pavek did not run with the varsity team.

“She was given a break,” Ovanin said. “That put us a little behind.”

The team had a few things they wanted to work on in the race.

“We need to keep moving up our pack in competition,” Ovanian said.

Ovanian has a few things she wants to work on herself.

“I need to gain mental strength,” Ovanian said. “The more I race the better I’ll get.”

The team has been working on a few things in practice since that race.

“We’re working on our speed work,” Ovanian said. “We’re also working on our pacing.”

The team will next race on Friday against UW-Stout and UW-La Crosse at Menomonie.

“La Crosse usually runs their j. v.,” Coy said. “We’ll be running it as a pack run.”

That will be the last race for the team before WIAC Conference on October 27th. That event will be held at Colfax, Eau Claire’s home course.

“Everybody always runs well at home,” Coy said.

The team will have an advantage in that race.

“We know where the spots are,” Coy said. “We know how to run the course.”