Taking top honors

    Blugold cross country secured multiple first place titles this weekend

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    The men’s and women’s cross country teams secured multiple victories this weekend, including first place overall.

    Both the men and women of the UW-Eau Claire cross country team kicked off their season in winning fashion, taking home a handful of individual and team victories at the St. Olaf Invitational in Northfield, Minnesota this past Saturday.

    While the men’s team has earned the first place trophy at this competition in seasons past, this weekend was the first time in several years the women were able to achieve the same feat.

    Callie Fischer, a senior team member said the victory put the lady Blugolds in a positive mood.

    “The atmosphere after we found out we won was just awesome,” Fischer said. “I don’t think the women’s team has done that in a long time at this meet. It was just exciting to see it happen and it was a really good day.”

    Samantha Slattery, a junior, crossed the finish line as Eau Claire’s top female performer. Slattery earned third place overall in the 6,000-meter run with a time of 22:22.7 seconds. An additional four Blugolds slid into the women’s top 20, including Morgan Marek, Fischer, Annika Lerdall and Joanne Reiners. Marek, a junior, took sixth in 22:56.6, while Fischer secured 11th with a time of 23:11.8. Lerdall, a first-year competitor, and Reiners, a junior, took 17th and 18th at 23:30.4 and 23:30.6, respectively.

    Although Fischer said she wasn’t surprised by the outcome of the meet, she said the weekend victory will serve as momentum for continued success.

    “We have more depth this year, with a lot of talented freshmen,” Fischer said. “We knew we could do it. But I think this proved to us that our goals are definitely within reach at the end of the season.”

    On the men’s side, Darin Lau crushed the competition, earning a first place title. The senior Blugold finished the 8,000-meter run in 25:10.8, securing over a 20-second lead on the next fastest competitor.

    “I felt good about it (the race),” Lau said. “Focussing on the guys, we really moved in the last mile or two. We pushed through a big group of guys in the end to get the top finishes.”

    Kyler Lueck crossed the finish line next for Eau Claire, taking sixth place and running a time of 26:13.9. Patrick Treacy, Sam Kuhlmann and Anthony Dupont rounded out the men’s top 20, taking 9th, 12th and 13th, respectively. Treacy, a junior, secured a time of 26:24.0, while Kuhlman and Dupont, also juniors, finished within one second of one another, in 26:32.1 and 26:33.0, respectively.

    Overall, Lau said the men’s team already has their eyes fixed on the end of the season.

    “I feel like our team has kind of established a culture of winning,” Lau said. “Now we are just focussing on getting those trophies at the end of the year.”

    Eau Claire will compete next on Friday, Sept. 29 in the annual Blugold Invite, located at the Whitetail Golf Course in Colfax, Wisconsin.