Both cross country teams take second in Minnesota

Story by Sam Rosenberry


Blugold Cross Country was able to grab second place in both the men’s and women’s races this Saturday at The Roy Griak Invitational.

Nobody was able to catch up to junior Alyssa Sybilrud who took first individually. Sybilrud was the first Blugold, male or female, to ever win this St. Paul event said Head Coach Dan Schwamberger.

Only the top 11 men and top 12 women competed in St. Paul for the Blugolds with the remainder of the team running the day before in Winona, Minn.


Race winner Sybilrud finished in 22:04, which was almost 11 seconds faster than the next runner. She was able to move up ranks each kilometer of the race.

“I wanted to go out more patiently, and then just keep catching each group each kilometer,” she said. “The last 2k just (made me give) everything I had.”

Schwamberger said it was a big accomplishment to win a race of the magnitude of The Roy Griak Invitational.

“She beat a lot of high-class national women, so that’s major,” he said.

The team did better than most teams except for UW-Oshkosh who finished with an average time of 23:04, which was six seconds faster than the Blugold’s average.

The team’s average was better than 3rd place Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (Calif.) by over 21 seconds.

The Blugolds had four runners in the top 25, but the fifth place runner was 44th. Schwamberger said that the team will need to run in a tighter pack in future races.

“Our five, six, seven runners are going to have to work on improving and trying to get up a little bit closer to our 1-4,” he said. Schwamberger is confident that this will happen, and pointed out that it usually takes a few races to get into top form.

Sybilrud believes that this is not their best race, but shares her coach’s confidence.

“It’s really early in the season and I think everybody ran really well at Griak,” she said. “I think we’ll just keep improving as the season goes on.”


The Blugold men also finished second with an average time of 26:30, which was 22 seconds higher than UW-Platteville’s time.

Although the men were a distant second behind UW-Platteville, Schwamberger said they beat some top-competition.

“The fact that we beat some really solid nationally ranked teams; (that victory) should give the guys some confidence.” The nationally ranked teams that participated are UW-Oshkosh, Claremont-Mudd-Scrips (Calif.), Grinnell College (Iowa), and Hamline University (Minn.). These teams finished 3-6 respectively.

Senior Tom Breitbach said the race strategy involved the runners behind him acting like a pack.

“They were just trying to group-up and run together,” he said. “Sort of use each other to pass as many people as they could.”

UW-Oshkosh had a lower average time than Eau Claire, but where a team finishes is based on a team’s top five individual runner’s placements.

Eau Claire’s total was 99, and Oshkosh’s was 123. One such runner was Breitbach, who was the fastest finishing Blugold at 26:12, which earned him seventh place.

“I was just going to try to get out with the leaders and see how long I could… mix it up with them,” he said.

The team had three others in the top 25: junior Jeremy Kieser (15th), sophomore Aaron Easker (22nd) and sophomore Aric Runzheimer (23rd).

UW-Platteville showed the team what they will need to do to improve, Schwamberger said.

“I think that was a good gauge,” he said. “As we keep progressing, that’s a team that we’re going to have to look to run with a little closer.”

UW-Eau Claire will host the Blugold Invite starting at 4:00 p.m. next Friday in Colfax.