Cross country squares off against familiar competitiors

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The UW-Eau Claire men’s cross country team toed the line and placed well against some out-of-state schools, finishing third out of 37 teams at the Brooks Invitational Saturday morning, hosted by UW-Oshkosh. North Central (Ill.) won the meet with 33 points while Washington University (Mo.) came in second with 64 points. Eau Claire finished with 133 points.

Blugold sophomore Ryan Mugan finished eighth out of 566 runners, breaking the 25-minute mark with a time of 24:50. Senior Matt Scott followed in 18th place with a time of 25:05 and sophomores Nick Petersson and Christian Leitner finished right next to each other, coming in 47th and 48th place with times of 25:35 and 25:37, respectively.

The Blugold men have remained relatively healthy all season, something Petersson said is an important factor during this part of the season, especially with the changing weather.

“I think it’s just smart training,” he said. “Overtraining can lead to injuries so it’s good to have everyone healthy, especially at this point in the season where it’s most important.”

Head coach Dan Schwamberger said it’s the difficult part of the season for the runners having to deal with midterms, practices, sleep and possible illness.

“It’s just all those little things that really make the difference whether you’re feeling good in November or not,”Schwamberger said.

 

Women pack it in, finish 10th

The top five individual runners came within 20 seconds of each other, leading the Eau Claire women’s cross country team to a 10th place finish at the Brooks Invitational. Calvin (Mich.) won the meet with 71 points while Eau Claire finished with 317 points.

Senior Alana Jenkins led the way with a 53rd place finish in a time of 23:03. Senior Nikki Rendler came in 59th with a time of 23:05 and sophomore Lucy Ramquist, who ran in her first race back from injury, finished 62nd with a time of 23:08.

Schwamberger said it was the best meet the women’s team has competed in so far.

“I thought it was a step in the right direction,” Schwamberger said. “It was definitely our quickest times, but more importantly they did a really good job of working together and finishing strong.”

Ramquist said jumping back into racing right before conference is a little stressful.

“I really love to race and to compete, so jumping back into the season at the height of it does come with some stress, but it’s more fun and exciting than anything, and ultimately, I’m just happy to be running and racing,” Ramquist said.

Schwamberger said the team is strong heading into the conference meet.

“I think there’s a little more confidence,” he said. “Now everyone knows we’re kind of getting into the meets that matter and for the most part we’ve been able to stay healthy and avoid sickness. If we can keep doing that, I think we’ll keep progressing.”

The top 12 runners of the men’s team and the top eleven runners get to rest up before the conference meet in River Falls on Nov. 2 while the rest of the teams compete at the Lake Wissota Invite on Friday. The women’s race starts at 4 p.m. and the men’s race starts at 5 p.m.