Sunday, November 28, 2010

UW-Eau Claire Cross Country: National Update

The UW-Eau Claire Women’s Cross Country team and Thomas Breitbach on the men’s side competed at the NCAA Division III National Cross Country Championships last Saturday, November 20th at Wartburg College in Waverly, IA. The women had their strongest performance of the season finishing 4th of 32 teams led by All-Americans (top 35) Elly Prunty (sr.-Antigo)-17th of 279, 21:35(6K); Margaret Ho (sr.-WI Rapids)-22nd, 21:39 and Alyssa Sybilrud (jr.-Burnsville, MN)-23rd, 21:40. Eau Claire had the most All-Americans in the women’s race (Johns Hopkins University had 2 individuals in the top 35 and was the only other team in the field with multiple All-Americans), which ties the 1984 NAIA National Championship team and 1985 National runner-up team for the most Blugold All-Americans in a National Meet. Rounding out the top 7 for the women were Ashlyn Mauer (so.-Sheboygan Falls)-129th, 22:38; Madison Sawyer (fr.-Champlin Park, MN)-133rd, 22:40; Kacey Rindy (jr.-Fennimore)-142nd, 22:45 and Molly Woodford (sr.-Waukesha South)-222nd, 23:17. The women’s plan going in was to focus on good position the first 1/3 of the race, work together the 2nd 1/3 and finish strong the final 1/3. Elly, Margaret and Alyssa did a very good job of following through with this plan, which can be seen with their position at miles 1, 2, 3 and the finish: Elly – 92nd, 32nd, 16th, 17th; Margaret – 54th, 33rd, 21st, 22nd; and Alyssa: 93rd, 44th, 30th, 23rd. Ashlyn and Madison were in 130th and 135th at the mile and stayed in similar position throughout the entire race finishing in 129th and 133rd overall. Considering this was their first National experience, and Madison’s first year ever running cross country, I thought they both did a good job staying strong and holding position throughout the entire race.

Here’s a link to the complete Women’s National Results:

On the men’s side, Thomas Breitbach (sr.-Muskego) finished 93rd of 279 with an 8K time of 25:25. Breitbach’s plan going into the race was to be under control the first 1/3 and focus on moving up through the field the final 2/3’s. Unfortunately for Thomas the race didn’t get out extremely fast, which made moving up through the pack the final 2/3’s a difficult task. Here are his 1, 2, 3, and 4 mile positions: 135th, 93rd, 89th, 98th and 93rd at the finish. This is the 3rd year in a row that the Blugold men have been represented at the National Championships (Chris Wirtz in 2008 and the men’s team in 2009).

Here’s a link to the complete Men’s National Results:

Both the women’s and men’s team are now enjoying a few weeks of active rest to recharge from the cross country season. Training will begin picking up in mid-December in preparation for the indoor season, which begins with the UW-Eau Claire Blugold Alumni Meet on Saturday, January 15th. The meet information for the Blugold Alumni Meet can be found on our Track and Field website at:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Volleyball Ranked 18th In Final Poll of 2010

The UW-Eau Claire volleyball team finished 2010 ranked 18th in the American Volleyball Coaches Association top 25 poll.

The Blugolds spent a majority of the season ranked 16th but had their highest ranking come in week one when they were No. 12.

Eau Claire finished the season as WIAC Co-Champions with Oshkosh and made it to the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament.

View Complete Final Poll

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Number of Successful Basketball Coaches Have Come Through Eau Claire

With the new basketball season underway around the country, a number of former Blugold men's basketball players and assistant coaches are preparing for the new season with their own teams.

Below is a list of individuals that played and/or coached at Eau Claire during Blugold Head Coach Terry Gibbons' tenure (click on names for more info).

Oliver Drake - Ashford University (NAIA), Basketball Head Coach

Scott Farr - UW-Manitowoc

Eric Gardow - Coaching Professionally in Qatar

Eric Konkol - Miami (NCAA DI), Assistant Coach

Cam Schuknecht - Nebraska Wesleyan (NCAA DII), Basketball Head Coach

Matt Siverling - UW-Superior (NCAA DIII), Head Coach

Not coaching basketball anymore, but Todd Oehrlein - UW-Madison (NCAA DI), Women's Golf Head Coach

There are also a number of other former Blugold players and assistants that serve in the high school ranks.

"I am proud of each and every one of these individuals," Gibbons said. "They have been great examples and role models to student-athletes here at UW-Eau Claire and beyond."

Women's Golf Ranked Third in Final Fall Poll

The UW-Eau Claire women’s golf team is ranked third according to the fall's final Golf World/NGCA Division III Coaches’ Poll.

The Blugolds, ranked second in the October 1 poll, most recently won the WIAC title. It was their second consecutive conference title.

View Complete Poll

Former Hockey Coach Luke Strand Part of World Title

Former UW-Eau Claire men's hockey head coach Luke Strand recently helped coach the U.S. Junior Select Team to the 2010 World Junior A Challenge title.

While he was an assistant coach for the U.S. Junior Select Team, he currently serves as head coach and general manager of the USHL's Sioux City Musketeers

Read Complete Game Recap

Musketeers' Website

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cross Country Teams Move Up in National Poll

The UW-Eau Claire men's and women's cross country teams moved up significantly in the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) top 35 poll.

The Blugold women jumped up nine spots to No. 5 after winning the NCAA Midwest regional last weekend.

The men moved up 11 spots to No. 21 after taking sixth at the regional.

The women will compete as a team at nationals this weekend while Tom Breitbach will represent the men.

Complete National Poll

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!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Austin Neu Featured in Blog About Small Town Quarterbacks

Blugold football quarterback Austin Neu is featured in a recent blog by St. Thomas about small town quarterbacks.

Read the Blog on

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Volleyball Drops One Spot in National Poll

After seven straight weeks behind ranked 16th, the Blugolds dropped one spot to No. 17 in this week's American Volleyball Coaches Association top 25 poll.

The Blugolds, who were WIAC co-champions, took second place in the WIAC Tournament last weekend and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships. The Blugolds will travel to St. Thomas (Minn.) for an eight-team regional which will be contested Friday-Sunday.

Complete National Poll

Monday, November 8, 2010

UW – Eau Claire Cross Country: Conference / Luther Recap

The men’s and women’s cross country team will be competing at the Midwest Regional Championships this Saturday, November 13th at Saukie Golf Course in Rock Island, IL, which is hosted by Augustana College. The men race at 11 am and the women race at Noon.

The WIAC Championships, hosted by UW-Eau Claire, was on Saturday, October 30th at Whitetail Golf Course. The men finished 6th of 9 teams and were led by Aric Runzheimer (so.-Kettle Moraine) who was All-Conference placing 14th of 100 runners with an 8K time of 25:41. Finishing one spot behind Aric earning All-Conference Honorable Mention was Max Renner (sr.-Green Bay East) in a time of 25:47. Rounding out the top 7 for the Blugolds were Jeremy Kieser (jr.-Verona)-21st, 25:59; Thomas Breitbach (sr.-Muskego)-34th, 26:15; Aaron Easker (so.-Wittenberg-Birnamwood)-35th, 26:20; Josh Wieland (sr.-Menomonie)-38th, 26:25 and Conor Rafferty (so.-Menomonee Falls)-40th, 26:26. I was very pleased with the performance of Aric, Max and Jeremy. However, for the team to finish in the top 5 at Regionals, which is the number of teams that will go to Nationals from the Midwest Region, Thomas needs to get back to his front running form and Aaron, Josh and Conor need to work with Max, Aric and Jeremy. If the men are able to accomplish these two objectives at Regionals they will be very happy with the result.

Here’s a link to the complete Men’s Conference Results:

On the women’s side at Conference the Blugolds won their 4th straight WIAC title! The women packed it up and ran together most of the race. Alyssa Sybilrud (so.-Burnsville, MN) led the way finishing 4th of 102 runners with a 6K time of 22:41. Elly Prunty (sr.-Antigo, WI) finished one spot behind Alyssa in 22:47. Margaret Ho (sr.-WI Rapids) finished in 8th place with a time of 22:50, and she earned the prestigious WIAC Cross Country Scholar Athlete of Year Award. Rounding out the top 7 were Madison Sawyer (fr.-Champlin Park, MN)-12th, 23:09 (Madison was the top freshman at Conference); Ashlyn Mauer (so.-Sheboygan Falls)-14th, 23:13; Kacey Rindy (jr.-Fennimore)-17th, 23:20 and Molly Woodford (sr.-Waukesha South)-19th, 23:23. The entire top 7 earned All Conference honors (1-7 = 1st Team, 8-14=2nd Team, 15-20=Honorable Mention). It also should be noted that at Conference we’re allowed to run 12 runners. Charissa Drake (jr.-Parkview) was our 12th runner and finished in 38th place. Charissa would have been in the top 7 of every other Conference team except for La Crosse where she would have been their 8th runner. This highlights the great depth of the women’s team this year.

Here’s a link to the complete Women’s Conference Results:

This past Friday the top 14 men and top 14 women who aren’t racing Regionals (we rest 8 for Regionals, which include the top 7 from Conference + 1 alternate) traveled to Decorah, Iowa and competed in the JV Cup hosted by Luther College. This is a great meet because it gives our younger runners an opportunity to compete against two other strong programs with great depth on their rosters (Luther and Augustana (IL)) and get a feel for racing in November, which I hope prepares them for future years when they will be competing at Regionals and Nationals. Both teams ran strong on the breezy challenging course with the women’s team finishing 2nd and the men’s team winning. Leading the way for the women was Maria Peloquin (sr.-Prescott) who finished 4th of 48 with a 6K time of 23:21. Teresa Coughlin (jr.-Coon Rapids, MN), Charissa Drake and Nicole Blahnik (so.-Antigo) weren’t far behind finishing in 6th, 7th and 8th place with times of 23:37, 23:39 and 23:41. Maria Kopecky (sr.-Mercer) ended her Blugold cross country career in style PRing by 39 seconds and finishing in 10th place with a 6K time of 23:44. Rounding out the top 7 were Michelle Brunshidle (so.-St. Croix Central)-11th, 23:45 and Dana Griepentrog (fr.-Homestead)-13th, 23:48.

Here’s a link to the complete Women’s Luther Results:

On the men’s side Matt Scott (fr.-Kiel) was the overall champion beating the field of 61 runners by 7 seconds in an 8K time of 26:23. Matt worked with teammates Kevin Weber (sr.-Irondale, MN) and Michael Borglin (jr.-Whitewater) through three miles and then pulled away the final two miles. Kevin finished 2nd overall in 26:30 and Michael finished 3rd in 26:37. Freshman Matt Wenaas (Chippewa Falls McDonell), who was our 4th runner, broke 27 minutes for the first time finishing 6th overall with a time of 26:55. Rounding out the top 7 were Philip Schommer (so.-Kimberly)-12th, 27:08; Alex Cole (fr.-Lakeville North, MN)-14th, 27:12 and Joe Martschinke (fr.-Waukesha West)-15th, 27:12. Five freshmen broke 27 minutes in the 8K this year, which is by far the most freshmen we’ve had break 27 minutes in the four years that I’ve been coaching at Eau Claire.

Here’s a link to the complete Men’s Luther Results:

Thank you to all of the Alums that have made it out to cheer us on at races this year. Hopefully we’ll see a few more of you down at Augustana this Saturday!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Blugold Cross Country Teams Drop One Spot in National Poll

Both UW-Eau Claire cross country teams dropped one spot in the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) top 35 poll.

The Blugold women, who won their fourth straight WIAC title last Saturday, are ranked 14th in the nation while the men are 32nd. They were 13th and 31st, respectively, in the previous rankings.

Complete National Rankings

Complete Regional Rankings

Volleyball Ranked 16th in Week Nine Poll

For the seventh straight week, the UW-Eau Claire volleyball team found itself ranked 16th, according to the American Volleyball Coaches Association top 25 poll.

The Blugolds, who captured a share of the WIAC title, earned the No. 1 seed for this week's WIAC Tournament and will host four teams this Friday and Saturday in the McPhee Physical Education Center.

On Friday in semifinal action, Oshkosh will face Platteville at 5 p.m. while Eau Claire will take on Whitewater at 7:30 p.m. Friday’s non-winners will play in a third-place match at noon Saturday and Friday’s winners will play for the tournament championship at 2:30 p.m.

Complete Week Nine Poll