Taking titles and breaking records

    Blugold cross country had several strong finishes at their weekend invitational

    More stories from Nicole Bellford


    Photo by Kar Wei Cheng

    In the annual Blugold Invite this weekend, both men’s and women’s cross country found success, taking top honors and breaking an individual course record.

    The UW-Eau Claire men’s and women’s cross country teams had another successful weekend of competition this past friday as they hosted the Blugold Invitational at the Whitetail Golf Course, finishing the day with multiple team and individual titles.

    In the women’s 6,000 meter run, five Blugolds made their way into the individual top 25, earning enough points to secure first place as a team.

    Morgan Marek, a junior, was the top finisher for Eau Claire, taking sixth overall in a time of 22:19.80. Joanne Reiners, also a junior, followed closely behind, earning eighth place and finishing in 22:23.90. Callie Fischer, a senior, rounded out the individual top ten, securing tenth place for the Blugolds in a time of 22:33.20.

    “I was really happy with my race,” Fischer said. “It (the competition) was very exciting, and a lot of people were there to support us. A lot of teams from our conference were there, so it was a pretty competitive atmosphere.”

    Mel Becker, a senior, crossed the finish line next for Eau Claire, taking 15th place with a time of 22:43.60. A little over five seconds later, Annika Lerdall, a first-year competitor, secured the final spot in the top 25 for Eau Claire, earning 20th place with a time of 22:48.80.

    Fischer said she hopes the women’s team can continue their streak of success in upcoming competition.

    “Everyone ran phenomenally,” Fischer said. “It shows us we are right where we want to be. We want to continue the road we are on and move our pack up even further.”

    In the men’s 8,000 meter run, three Blugolds finished in the individual top 25, helping Eau Claire earn the second place title overall.

    Darin Lau, a senior, recorded an impressive race, taking the first place title in 24:15.0. Lau beat the second place competitor by over 40 seconds and shattered the course record by 14 seconds. His performance earned him the NCAA National Athlete of the Week award for the second time this season.

    “I’m pretty pleased with my performance,” Lau said. “I ran faster than I did last year. A lot of Blugolds were there cheering us on, which was pretty cool.”

    Kyler Lueck, a sophomore, finished next for Eau Claire, taking 11th overall with a time of 25:31.70. Sam Kuhlmann secured the final spot in the individual top 25, earning 25th in 25:57.10.

    Overall, Lau said he wishes the men could have performed better as a team, but feels the end of the season is bright.

    “I wish we could have ran a little faster,” Lau said. “But we have to keep our heads up and believe in what we are doing so we can run fast in November.”

    The Blugolds will be back in action on Oct. 14, as they travel to Principia College for the Pre-Nationals meet.