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

    Women’s cross country looks forward to regionals

    After a fourth-place-finish in the WIAC conference championship, the UW-Eau Claire women’s cross country team is on its way to compete in the NCAA Midwest Regionals hosted at noon Saturday by Bradley University in Peoria, Ill.

    The top seven runners from each conference team will compete in the regional meet.

    There are eight regions in the country and the Blugolds will compete in the Midwest region against Div. III schools from Wisconsin, Illinois and Missouri.

    Qualifications for the regional meet are based on a formula from scores the year before.

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    The Blugolds will compete against 35 teams Saturday.

    There will be competition from the top three teams from the conference meet, UW-Lacrosse, UW-Stevens Point and UW-Oshkosh.

    “We are close to Stevens Point and Oshkosh and we need to beat four other teams to make it to the national meet,” coach Scott Steuernagel said.

    Sophomore Alicia Fredricks agreed.

    “There will be some tough competition” she said, “but the course will be easier than our previous conference meet.”

    Only three schools and six individuals can advance to nationals.

    “We need to step it up and close the gap between the top three,” freshman Rachel Anderson said, “and that is a challenge we are ready to face.”

    Sophomore Missy Paulson agreed on the challenges that need to be made for the meet.

    “We need to run in the faster packs to prove we can run with the other teams,” she said.

    Sophomore Jane Ovanin finished the conference meet in second place.

    Paulson, who was the closest Blugold behind Ovanin, finished seventh.

    “We hope to see big personal records because we are not only in our prime, but our conference course was challenging,” Anderson said. “Going into regions we know that the course is flat and fast.”

    Steuernagel also said he feels that an easier course will work well for the Blugolds.

    “With an easier course the runners can use their natural talent,” Steuernagel said. “With the course being less of a factor they can just run.”

    Next week the women will welcome back coach Tracy Yengo.

    Yengo has been on maternity leave since the birth of her daughter, Sydnee Ann, on Oct. 3.

    “I am excited to come back,” Yengo said. “I tried to keep in contact with the team and hope to come back and send some runners to nationals.”

    St. Olaf College (Minn.) will host the NCAA Div. III Nationals Nov. 23 at noon.

    The women’s cross country team has not been to nationals since 1997.

    “We need to run better as a whole,” Yengo said, “and make a statement to the other teams to earn our way to nationals.”

    Steuernagel agreed.

    “The team has to run its very best,” he said. “And take every opportunity to get ahead in order to have a chance at nationals.”

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    Women’s cross country looks forward to regionals