Home course advantage was not on the Blugold men’s cross country team’s side on Friday as it took a close second-place finish to St. Olaf (Minn.) at Whitetail Golf Course in Colfax.
The Blugolds beat the Oles on their home course in Northfield, Minn. on Sept. 20.
The Eau Claire men’s cross country team fell to St. Olaf by four points on Friday at the Blugold Invite, consisting of 25 Division III teams on an 8K course, ending with a total of 52 points. Head cross country coach Dan Schwamberger said he looks forward to this race every year, and in his opinion, it is the best DIII course out there.
But location isn’t always the case.
“You would think it would be home course advantage, but it’s funny we went to St. Olaf and the men beat them on their home course, and St. Olaf came to our course and they beat us,” Schwamberger said.
On the women’s side, the Blugolds placed fifth overall out of 24 teams in the 6K race with 134 points.
Sophomore Josh Thorson and junior Lucy Ramquist proved to be stand out runners, Schwamberger said. Thorson took fifth individually with a time 24:45.6; meanwhile Ramquist took sixth with a time of 22:44.2.
He said overall he was pleased with both teams as for Thorson, Schwamberger said he is proving that he is by far a front runner.
“At St. Olaf he really ran a smart race and finished strong,” Schwamberger said. “I think at Blugold he ran a good race but got aggressive early. I think that cost him in the middle of the race, I think he has proven he can run with anyone.”
Ramquist originally planned to start out with a 5:50 mile, but came through out at a 6:02. For the first two miles she stuck with her two teammates: juniors Kelsey Jaeger and Clara Williamson. However, Ramquist said there came a point when she needed to pull away and start to pick people off ahead of her.
“That’s the point in the race, when you have to turn your brain off and just race,” Ramquist said. “For me that’s when I look at the girl ahead of me and pass her, and when I pass her look at the next girl in front,” “That’s the point in the race when you don’t think.”
While the women’s team has yet to hold their shining moment, both Schwamberger and Ramquist agree there have been runners held back physically.
There have been some runners on both teams who have taken three days off from running just to recover and get back into the running mindset again. It’s a common thing on the team that gives the athletes a significant time for a break.
“Lots of cases of people really feeling run down and not running to their full potential,” Ramquist said. “People don’t realize what we have in store because cause I know of a few girls who aren’t running as well as they could yet and once that happens we’ll be running a lot better.”
While both teams have this coming weekend off, they will still be hard at work as they are approaching the halfway point in the season.
The men are currently ranked first in the conference and the women are ranked third. Schwamberger said each week both teams are improving as shown in the results from the past meets.
The Blugolds will travel to UW-Oshkosh to participate in the AAE Invitational.
Disclaimer: Josh Thorson is a graphic designer for The Spectator