The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

    Blugold harriers seventh in region

    The men’s cross country team failed to qualify for the national meet for the third straight season at Saturday’s Midwest Regional Championships in Peoria, Ill., but it wasn’t for lack of effort.

    Six of seven Blugolds ran the fastest time of their career and four broke the 26-minute barrier as the ‘Golds placed seventh of 33 teams.

    “I’ve probably never hurt that much in the last mile, but I’ve probably never run that hard in a race before either,” said senior Chad McCartney, who finished third on the team and 43rd overall (out of 240 runners) with a time of 25 minutes, 45 seconds.

    For the second consecutive meet, sophomore runner Ethan Kreul was the Blugolds’ top finisher.

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    He covered the 8,000-meter course in 25:18, good for 28th place overall.

    Junior Matt Goertz trailed Kreul by 10 seconds and placed 35th, while sophomore Adam Condit finished 11seconds behind McCartney in 25:56 to capture 56th place.

    Junior Jeff Burkart grabbed the fifth and final scored place on the team by finishing in 26:09, 60th place overall.

    Seniors Nick Hardt and Mark Meunier finished with times of 26:17 and 26:47, respectively.

    With 215 points, Eau Claire finished behind UW-Oshkosh, North Central College (Ill.), UW-Stevens Point, UW-La Crosse, UW-Platteville and the University of Chicago.

    Oshkosh won the meet with 51 points and qualified for the NCAA Div. III National Championships Saturday at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn.

    North Central, Stevens Point and La Crosse also advanced to the national meet.

    Everyone except Meunier set a personal record on the flat, quick course that was in sharp contrast to the course Eau Claire ran at the WIAC Championships Nov. 2 in Platteville.

    Junior Ryan Kleimenhagen of Platteville won both the conference and the regional meet with very different times.

    He finished with a time of 24:28 Saturday, more than one minute faster than the 25:33 he ran at the conference meet.

    Burkart said the Blugolds’ improvement from a disappointing conference meet Nov. 2 at Platteville was more a result of a better attitude than a faster course.

    “We were ready to go no matter what kind of course it was,” Burkart said. “If we had another meet, we could probably do even better.”

    Burkart said the team tried not to worry about where it would place.

    “We didn’t put pressure on ourselves,” he said. “We all just wanted to run PRs.”

    McCartney said he and Goertz, in an effort to qualify individually for nationals, tried to stay with the top 15 to 20 runners.

    Kreul said he went out at a more comfortable pace and “never gave up on the race.”

    The Poynette native said he is surprised to have become the team’s No. 1 runner after struggling during his freshman year and suffering a toe injury early this season.

    Kreul finished just 11 seconds away from individually qualifying for nationals.

    The top six runners who were not on the four qualifying teams earned a bid to the national meet.

    The Blugolds last qualified for nationals as a team in 1999.

    They took ninth place in the region in 2000 and 11th place last season.

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    Blugold harriers seventh in region