Cross country teams ready for championship season

Men place third at North Central while women run without top runner Lucy Ramquist

During the early-morning drive to the AAE Invitational, hosted by UW-Oshkosh, there was a little drizzle, head cross country coach according to Dan Schwamberger said. By the time the men and women’s team reached their destination, the temperatures were what he called “perfect.”

“For distance runners, usually the cooler the better,” Schwamberger said. “It was a little bit windy, but it was such a big field. When you have over 500 runners, a lot of people won’t even feel the wind. It was probably mid-40s.”

Since the weather was ideal for the Blugolds, it allowed for great team placement. The women’s team finished in 20th place; the men placed third.

As usual, the frontrunner for the Blugold men’s team was sophomore Josh Thorson, placing fifth with a time of 24:44 in the 8K. Junior Lucy Ramquist did not run at Oshkosh due to a slight knee injury, which allowed junior Kelsey Jaeger to step up and lead the Blugolds. Jaeger finished with a time of 22:41 in the 6K.

Jaeger said she, along with many of her teammates, had their best races of the season.

“(The meet) was a good measure of where we’re at,” Jaeger said. “A lot of people had their personal bests, so it’s good to see that progression.”

Schwamberger said the teams saw a lot of depth in the other teams, meaning a lot of nationally ranked teams attended.

The men’s and women’s teams used this depth to their advantage as they will be seeing a lot of these teams again at nationals. Running this course also proved to be in their favor, because it’s the same site as regionals this year.

With the regular season coming to a close within the next few weeks, the Blugolds are looking to stay healthy and keep up on their training. Right now, the men’s team runs anywhere from 35 to 85 miles a week, and the women’s mileage ranges from 25 to 50 miles per week.

Tapering won’t begin until after conference, which is Nov. 1.

Before conference is the UW-Eau Claire “City Wells” Invitational, and Schwamberger looks to run everyone except the top 12 women and top 11 men, respectively. The 12th runner for the men’s team will be determined after this Friday.

The purpose of this is to give the runners who will run at conference a chance to rest before the meet the following week.

UW-La Crosse will host the conference meet, and each team can run 12 runners. Schwamberger said both teams have goals set in their sights.

“On the women’s side … we’re going to be really focusing on competing well with Oshkosh and Steven’s Point,” Schwamberger said. “The guys’ goal is definitely to win conference, and they definitely have the potential, but we’re going to have to run a good race.”