Men’s cross country garners first place finish at the Blugold Invitational

Women’s team captures a third place title



Story by Meghan Hosely, Online Editor

Colfax may be a half-hour drive from Eau Claire, but Friday afternoon, it was home to the men’s and women’s cross country teams as they hosted their annual Blugold Invitational.

Out of 19 teams on the men’s side, UW-Eau Claire placed first with 45 points. Junior Josh Thorson led the pack for the Blugolds, placing third overall with a time of 24:33 in the 8k race.

Sophomore Darin Lau was the second Blugold to cross the line, placing fifth with a time of 24:44. Senior Ryan Mugan rounded out the top three for the Blugolds, coming in seventh at 25:04.

The men edged out their competitors from St. Olaf College (Minn.) and UW-La Crosse by 15 and 41 points, respectively.

St. Olaf has consistently been a top competitor against the Blugolds, head coach Dan Schwamberger said. The Lions are currently ranked second in the nation, and two weeks ago, St. Olaf beat the Blugolds at their home invitational.

Schwamberger said Friday’s race proved the men can keep up with their competition.

“I think (the win) lets the guys know that, if things go well, they can be a top-four team in the nation,” he said.

Schwamberger also said it was Thorson’s first race of the season. Thorson said he took some time off due to an Achilles’ injury late last spring, but thought his performance Friday was better than what it would have been a year ago.

“It’s one of those things where I haven’t raced for four to five months, and it’s always a little nerve-wracking,” Thorson said. “I was just excited to see what all the work over the summer added up to, and I was really happy with where I ended up today.”

The women placed third Friday, falling behind La Crosse and St. Olaf, who placed first and second, respectively.

Even with a third place finish as a team, senior Lucy Ramquist claimed the top individual spot, running the 6k race in 22:16.

Ramquist said her goal for the race was to stay with the top runners, then pull away and see who else would race with her.

“When I had about (1,500 meters left) I just kind of went for it, and to see whoever comes with me could come with me,” she said.

Seniors Clara Williamson and Katryna Williams rounded out the top three for the women. Schwamberger said both seniors had “breakout races” Friday.

“At St. Olaf, Clara got out a little faster than we wanted. Our plan for her today was to be more relaxed, and she did, and she was able to do really well,” he said. “Katryna has always been a great runner for us … and she ran a big (personal record) today.”

The Blugolds will toe the line again in two weeks, as they will hit the road for the UW-Oshkosh AAE Invitational. Schwamberger said this race provides an opportunity for his athletes to see the course they’ll have the WIAC championship meet on, as well as the national meet, set for mid-November.