The UW- Eau Claire Cross Country team is running into their season as the autumn colors reveal themselves in the Chippewa Valley.
Next week will mark the first home meet of the season for the Blugolds, taking place at the Whitetail Golf Course on Friday, Sept. 30 in Colfax. Coach Dan Schwamberger said he is excited to see what the team can do.
“It will be two weeks since our last race, I think people should be able to run faster just because we have got two more weeks of training in,” Schwamberger said.
The invite will be the first time the team will run against several conference teams, including UW-La Crosse, UW-Platteville, UW-River Falls and UW-Stout.
Non-conference teams St. Olaf (Minn.) and the University of Minnesota will be present and will be interesting to see against the Blugolds, Schwamberger said.
The set course for the Blugold Invite is faster than the St. Olaf Invitational, because it takes place on a golf course opposed to trails.
Women will be running a 6K race, while the men will be running an 8K. This past week, the team had a hard workout which took the place of a competition, and Schwamberger claimed that it went well for the team.
“I think they had fun with it and definitely should be more confident after doing that,” Schwamberger said.
Schwamberger said the men’s team aims to win the race and the women wish to finish within the top five teams.
Katie Wood, a senior captain of the team is optimistic for the coming meets. At St. Olaf, the women’s team finished in fourth place, after the University of Minnesota-Duluth, Carleton College and St. Olaf.
“When we peak later in the season, we’re aiming to beat teams like St. Olaf,” Wood said.
A big emphasis for the team this season is being patient, Wood said. With the training and competition schedule set, the team should perform their best near the end of October or early November, when the conference and regional meets will take place.
The team focuses on the little things, because they impact the final product, Wood added. Schwamberger said they also aim to control what is within their grasp, like nutrition and stretching. After workouts, the coaching staff encourages the team to eat within a 20-minute window with a four to one ratio of carbs to protein.
“Be patient, the work will show. Doing all the little things, like the stretching and making sure that you are eating right, getting enough sleep, and stretching and icing definitely impacts how you perform and how you recover,” Wood said.
Wood is looking forward to see how the team progresses throughout the season, and hopes that she can enjoy her last season spending time with the team through the competitions, workouts and other events.
The Blugold Invite will be raising awareness for Breast Cancer and is encourages all running participants to wear pink in support of the “Making Strides” campaign for the American Cancer Society. A donation bucket will also be available.