Ticket punched

    UWEC Women’s Cross-Country team punches their ticket to Nationals

    More stories from Dietrich Schwoerer


    Photo by SUBMITTED

    Both Blugold cross-country teams toed the line for the NCAA Division III Midwest Regional meet this past weekend on Saturday, Nov. 16.

    Both Blugold cross-country teams toed the line for the NCAA Division III Midwest Regional meet this past weekend on Saturday, Nov. 16.

    While only the top two teams get an automatic bid to the national meet, schools who run well, usually placing in the top five team scores, must await their fate as these schools hope to receive an At Large bid to the national meet.

    At Large bids are given out to teams that don’t get an automatic qualification. Sixteen teams receive At Large bid totalling the number of teams that qualify for the national meet to 32. 

    The NCAA DIII Men’s and Women’s Track & Field and Cross Country Committee is tasked to determine who those next 16 teams are. The committee takes into consideration several criteria like previous performances throughout the year and how close the point totals are to other teams. The full list of criteria can be found here.

    Heading into the meet, the women’s team was ranked No. 3 in the region and No. 11 in the nation. The Blugolds were looking to get back to the national meet where the last two seasons they have placed runner-up in 2017 and fourth place in 2018.

    Naomi Long, a second-year runner, talked about their expectations before the meet.

    “Our expectations were for all of us to have a great race,” Long said. “Our goal is to get back to nationals. We will do that if we stick to our race plan that worked so well at the conference meet.”

    The Lady Blugolds did just that, placing fourth in the meet behind No. 2 Washington University (MO.), No. 7 University of Chicago and No. 15 UW-La Crosse.

    Lexie Tremble, a fourth-year runner, finished runner-up with a time of 22:13.1 for the 6K race. Long finished in the 18 spot, and Emma Drangstveit, a third-year runner, finished in the 23 spot. All three of these Blugolds earned All-Regional honors.

    The Blugolds received their At Large bid on Sunday afternoon. The final race of the 2019 season is Saturday Nov. 23 in Louisville Kentucky. The women’s race starts at 11:45 EST. 

    The men will not compete at the national meet for the first time since 2011. The men’s team finished sixth overall at the regional meet.

    Connor Dolan, a third-year runner, finished the race seventeenth overall in a time of 25:13.8 for the 8K race. He will be the only Blugold on the men’s team to qualify for the national meet.

    “I think that the team did a pretty good job sticking to the race plan,” Dolan said. “We wanted to get out in control and move up throughout the race. Some people did this really well and some people just had an off day.”

    Dolan was a part of the national team from last year where he finished in the 122 spot, which was third for the team last year.

    This year he hopes to improve from last year’s race.

    “My expectations for myself are that I go out there and give my best effort and improve from last year’s performance,” Dolan said. 

    Alex Winn , a fourth-year runner, placed in the 35 spot overall, earning him All-Regional honors. He was the last man to receive those honors.

    The men’s race starts at 10:45 EST. Live results for both races can be found here.

    Schwoerer can be reached at [email protected].