Cross-Country sweeps top 8, earns rare perfect score

Michael Johrendt

The UW Oshkosh men’s cross country team recorded a perfect score in its second meet of the season against Ripon College on Saturday, Sept. 19 in Green Lake. The Titans placed the first eight runners of the race, including 11th through 13th and 15th, all contributing to the 50-point total for the Titans at the 8,000-meter course. Sophomore Justin Skinkis was the first place runner with a time of 26:54, and junior Mitch Pauers finished right behind Skinkis at 27:19. Skinkis said the meet was an opportunity for the underclassmen to get a chance to finish well. “It was awesome for the younger guys on the team to place so highly in the meet and to get some confidence early in the season,” Skinkis said. “Hopefully that will carry over for the remainder of the season.” Head coach Eamon McKenna said being able to place eight guys ahead of the first Ripon runner shows their early-season dominance. “The win at Ripon was nice, but not a big deal as we expected to put at least five in front of their number-one runner” McKenna said. “It is easy to leave a meet like that feeling good, but the danger is getting complacent, as we will face much better competition down the road this season.” Rounding out the top eight for the Titans were freshman Jake Rost, sophomore Trevor Damkot, freshman Fabian Salinas, sophomore Nate Nozzi, freshman Adian Welsch and junior Derrick Rufer with a 13-seconds difference between Rost and Rufer in the average mile time. Pauers said all of the runners believe in Mckenna as a coach and that will better prepare them for the future. “This is Eamon’s third year coaching here, and the guys that were freshman when he entered are now juniors, so they’ve been able to buy into his coaching, and we believe he will set us up for success,” Pauers said. “After a disappointing end to the season last year, it will be exciting to see what we can do this year with five of our top seven guys returning, but nothing is guaranteed so we will work hard for future success.” The Titans’ next race is at the Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis, Minnesota. on Sept. 26.