Monday, November 15, 2010

UW-Eau Claire Cross Country: Regional Update

The UW-Eau Claire Men’s and Women’s team competed at the Midwest Regional Championships hosted by Augustana College Saturday at Saukie Golf Course in Rock Island, IL. The women's team won their 3rd straight NCAA Midwest Regional Championship finishing 1st of 38 teams! Margaret Ho (sr.-WI Rapids), Elly Prunty (sr.-Antigo) and Alyssa Sybilrud (jr.-Burnsville, MN) worked together the entire race finishing 8th, 10th and 11th of 263 runners with 6K times of 21:49, 21:49 and 21:50. Eau Claire’s two underclassmen, Ashlyn Mauer (so.-Sheboygan Falls) and Madison Sawyer (fr.-Champlin Park, MN), ran very strong placing 22nd and 34th in PR times of 22:19 and 22:34. The Blugolds were the only team on the women’s side whose entire top 5 earned All-Midwest Regional honors (top 35). Rounding out the top 7 were Molly Woodford (sr.-Waukesha South)-38th, 22:41 and Kacey Rindy (jr.-Fennimore)-47th, 22:50. The women have done a great job working together during the past three meets (Conference, Luther and Regionals), and if they can continue this trend at Nationals they will be very happy with the result.

Here’s a link to the complete Women’s Midwest Regional Results:

The men had a strong performance finishing 6th of 39 teams but missed qualifying for Nationals by one spot (the top 5 teams from the Midwest Region advance to Nationals). Thomas Breitbach (sr.-Muskego) was the top Blugold finisher placing 15th of 275 in an 8K time of 24:38. This performance individually qualifies Thomas for the National Meet. Sophomores Aric Runzheimer (Kettle Moraine) and Aaron Easker (Wittenberg-Birnamwood), along with Breitbach, earned All-Midwest Regional honors finishing 30th and 33rd in 8K times of 24:50 and 24:55. Max Renner (sr.-Green Bay East) just missed All-Midwest Regional honors finishing 36th with an 8K time of 25:00. Rounding out the top 7 were Conor Rafferty (so.-Menomonee Falls)-73rd, 25:36; Jeremy Kieser (jr.-Verona)-94th, 25:57 and Josh Wieland (sr.-Menomonie)-104th, 26:02. Coming into the race the men’s team was ranked 9th in the Region and 6th in the Conference so finishing 6th overall and 4th among Conference teams is a definite improvement, but the gap between our 4th and 5th runner proved to be the determining factor ending the team’s quest for Nationals. Obviously, the men’s team is extremely disappointed with not advancing to the National Meet, but being the first team not to qualify for Nationals in the strongest Region in the nation should prove to be a great motivator keeping the team hungry and striving to improve in the upcoming track and cross country seasons.

Here’s a link to the complete Men’s Midwest Regional Results:

The NCAA Division III National Cross Country Meet hosted by Wartburg College in Waverly, IA is this Saturday, November 20th. The men race at 11 am and the women race at Noon. Here’s a link to the meet website so you can see how the women’s team and Thomas perform on Saturday:

I look forward to seeing many of you this upcoming weekend at Nationals!

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