Tops in the conference

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Tops in the conference

Story by Zack Katz, Staff Writer

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Last weekend, the Blugold men and women’s cross country teams took to UW-Platteville for their Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference meet, hosted at Cole Acres golf course in Cuba City, Wis.

Both teams posted strong results in the conference overall — the women took first place, and the men finished as runners up.

This weekend marked the sixth consecutive year women’s cross country has claimed first place in their conference, also Dan Schwamberger’s sixth year as head coach.

“We performed very well this weekend,” Schwamberger said.  “Our women’s team won in a fairly
convincing fashion.”

As a team, the women took a 37-point lead over runner up UW-La Crosse after their 32-point victory.

The women found a great deal of individual success as well — the top six runners all boast conference recognition.

Sophomore Kelsey Jaeger believes her team is a confident stride above their competition.

“As a team, I definitely think we have a lot of momentum,” Jaeger said. “We’ve been training hard all year to peak during these last few meets.”

The women put together an impressive weekend, but senior Ashlyn Mauer stood out for her record-breaking performance in the 6,000 meter race.

“She took it out hard and led from the start,” Schwamberger said.

Mauer was faced with the challenge of Christy Cazzola, a national runner-up from UW-Oshkosh.

Mauer said she knew she would have to start strong and stay with Cazzola the whole race.  She was successful in doing so, as she kept within seven seconds of Cazzola at the finish.

“One of my goals for this season was to have the fastest 6K time in Blugold history, and reaching that goal already in the season is really exciting,” Mauer said.

With a time of 21:22 at a 5:43 per mile pace, Mauer has achieved her goal, and received the Judy Kruckman Scholar Athlete award for cross country in the process.

The award is a result of Mauer’s contribution to her team, academics and community.

Following Mauer in third and fourth place were seniors Madi Sawyer and Steph Sjostrom, respectively.

The men’s team had a successful weekend as well, but coach Schwamberger feels they have yet to reach their full potential.

“I think if you talk to any of the guys you’ll find that they’re pleased with the results, but not satisfied,” Schwamberger said.  “It’s definitely a good step, but there are bigger possibilities if we put it all together.”

This weekend marks the Blugolds’ best results in the WIAC tournament since 1989.  Given the deepness of the men’s team, there is nowhere to go but up heading into the remainder of
their season, Schwamberger said.

For the top eight runners of both teams that have qualified, this weekend marks a break to prepare for their regional tournament.

Those that did not qualify will be competing this weekend in the Luther Invite hosted in Decorah (Iowa).  This benefits runners with experience they can use to break into the top seven, Schwamberger said.

Regional action starts Nov. 2.