Cross country gets out hot at home course

Photo by Becky Olson

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After winning the Roy Griak Invitational, the men’s cross country team put in another strong performance as they hosted the Blugold Invitational at the Whitetail Golf Course in Colfax Friday afternoon.

The team placed fourth out of 26 teams with 102 points, trailing first place UW-La Crosse (54 points), St. Olaf (Minn.)  (80 points) and Central College (Iowa) (98 points).

Sophomore Ryan Mugan finished ninth with a time of 25:10, sophomore Christian Leitner and senior Matt Scott finished 18th and 19th consecutively with identical times of 25:26 and sophomore Nick Petersson finished 32nd  with a time of 25:50.

The first 100 yards of the course was on a flat fairway with the starting line by one of the greens. Mugan said it wasn’t unusual for the team to start the race out quickly.

“We got out pretty fast, but I kind of expected it would with a lot of the big names here,” Mugan said. “It’s kind of what we wanted, just to be out front but not doing any work yet.”

Mugan said saving energy after the first mile is hard, but it comes down to balance.

“You’ve kind of got to keep it in check and get out reasonable,” Mugan said.

 Head coach Dan Schwamberger said the team had a good, fast day out on the course.

“La Crosse definitely was the dominant team, but I felt like we did a fairly good job grouping up, and it was a fast day,” Schwamberger said. “Many people just got after it and it was quick.”

Women finish in sixth place

The Blugold women finished the day in sixth place out of 25 teams at the same meet. The University of Minnesota won handily, beating second place La Crosse by a margin of 50 points with a score of 44.

Senior Alana Jenkins finished 42nd with a time of 23:27. Senior Jami Riley followed in 47th with a time of 23:36 and Nikki Rendler finished 48th with a time of 23:38.  Jenkins said that the beginning part of the course was a little tricky.

“You feel like you should conserve your energy, but truth is it’s early on and you have time to settle,” Jenkins said. “I think if we’d gotten out a little faster it would have benefitted because once you’re in the middle, you get kind of stuck and I think that happened today.”

Schwamberger said that starting a race off fast or slow is up to the individual runner.

“You just have to gauge it for whatever your best race strategy is,” Schwamberger said.

Jenkins said she was glad they were able to host an invite at the golf course.

“It’s a good course compared to Griak and River Falls,” she said. “I feel like it’s the most honest course we’ve run as far as being able to get into a groove. But hopefully we’ll peak at the right time, which is around conference and regionals.”

The teams get to take another break next weekend before travelling to UW-Oshkosh on Oct. 19th for the Brooks Invitational.