UW-Eau Claire Blugold athletics
This past weekend, the Blugold men’s and women’s cross country teams traveled to Mason, Ohio, for the NCAA Division III national cross country meet.
After consistently being ranked in the top four nationally all season, the men’s team finished in seventh place on Saturday. Despite the level of disappointment from his runners, head coach Dan Schwamberger said this is the highest national ranking in program history.
“Last year, the guys finished ninth,” Schwamberger said. “The year before, they were 10th. In the last three years, they’ve done slow progressions. That’s definitely a big deal.”
Consistently being the frontrunner for his squad, sophomore Josh Thorson kept to the status quo by leading his team again. He placed third nationally with a time of 23:57 in the 8K.
Two other runners to earn All-American honors for the Blugolds were junior Ryan Mugan, finishing 10th, and freshman Darin Lau, who crossed the line in 31st place.
After getting an at-large bid from the NCAA on Nov. 16, the women’s team came in seeded 27th, and placed 17th, 10 spots above where they were expected to be.
Junior Lucy Ramquist led her teammates by placing 39th with a time of 22:46 in the 6K. Ramquist said once the stress of making it to nationals was gone, her and her teammates were happy to get the experience under their belts for future years.
“Our goal for the whole season was making it to nationals,” Ramquist said. “There was a lot of stress that was off our shoulders. Our goal was to place in the top 20 … and it was awesome we got 17th place.”
After Saturday, Schwamberger said the men’s team are “definitely hungry” after placing a bittersweet 7th place, and the women have the confidence to be a national-level type team. Both teams, he said, will use these factors to fuel them for the upcoming indoor track season.
However, once both indoor and outdoor track seasons pass, and summer comes to a close, two of the men’s top seven runners, Erik Rosvold and Adam Moline, will have to be replaced. The lone top-seven woman runner who won’t return next season is Monica Emerson.
Schwamberger said both the teams should prove to be strong teams next season, and are motivated to start indoor track.
Junior Ryan Mugan said he thinks his team is still in a really good place, and has expectations for his team next fall.
“It just wasn’t our day (Saturday),” Mugan said. “We’ll come back next year with more experience. We have really high goals set.”