Women’s cross country takes fourth in championship

The women’s cross country team qualified for the NCAA Midwest Regionals after finishing in fourth place at Saturday’s WIAC Conference meet.
“They all ran solid performances,” coach Tracy Yengo said of the meet. “There were no outstanding performances.”
Finishing in front of Eau Claire was UW-La Crosse in first, UW-Oshkosh in second and UW-Stevens Point in third.
Those three teams are ranked in the NCAA Division III women’s cross country poll. La Crosse is ranked fourth, Oshkosh fifth and Stevens Point 15th.
The race was held at the Whitetail Golf Course in Colfax, which is the Blugold’s home course.
“We were really excited,” Yengo said. “We were mentally prepared to run.”
It will be changing their practice schedule to get ready for regionals.
“We will have long runs,” Yengo said. “We’ll have one quality workout.”
Freshman Jane Ovanin finished 16th, first for Eau Claire, in a time of 19:00. sophmore Sara Pavek finished 26th in 19:30, sophmore Melissa Wright came in in 30th with a time of 19:39 and freshman Krista Fredrikson finished in a time of 19:55, good for 38th place.
“Fredrikson ran a p.r. (personal record),” Ovanin said. “Everyone else ran good times.”
The team is preparing for regionals on Nov. 10 in Rock Island, Ill.
“We’ll only run seven,” Yengo said. “It will be a tough decision. The seven to nine (runners) are pretty close.”
The top four teams in regionals will make nationals.
“It will be extremely difficult to make top four,” Yengo said. “Every race is a clean slate, another chance.”
The coach is optimistic that the team will run well.
“We’re ready to pop a good race,” Yengo said. “We expect to run our best race.”
Some runners have a chance to make individual nationals.
“If Ovanin, Wright, and Pavek have an outstanding day they have a solid shot,” Yengo said. “It will be extremely difficult.”
Ovanin feels good about her chances.
“I’m really optimistic,” Ovanin said. “I’m hoping to peak at regionals.”
One possible motivation for running well is other teams don’t expect them to.
“We want to prove others wrong,” Ovanin said. “We’re ready to run a good race.”