Cross country starts home competition

Michael Johrendt

In the first home meet of the season, the UW Oshkosh men’s and women’s cross country teams ran at the AAE Invitational at the Lake Breeze Golf Club in Winneconne on Oct. 17. The men took home eighth-place out of 45 teams for a score of 227 points with 1,404 runners participating. Senior Jordan Carpenter (14th place) and junior Charlend Howard (23rd place) led the Titans in the 8,000-meter race. Freshman Wal Khat (56th), junior Joe Zack (57th), and senior Roberto Lara (77th) were next up for the Titans in the race. Rounding out the runners for the 14th-ranked Titans were sophomore Mitch Pauers (220th), freshman Jacob Rost (222nd), sophomore Trevor Damkot (251st), freshman Brian McKnight (311th) and freshman Justin Skinkis (342nd). Pauers said that the familiarity with the course always helps. “It’s good to get on the course before the big meets,” Pauers said. “We do it so we are able to know the mile markings and what to expect for conference and nationals.” UWO has three consecutive home meets on its schedule and head coach Eamon McKenna said that running in Oshkosh has its advantages and disadvantages. “Our runners should know the course very well and that should give them confidence about where and when they can make moves during the race,” McKenna said. “The one drawback about being home this much, is it doesn’t allow us to spend time on the road together, which can be valuable for team-building and overall focus. There are typically more distractions at home than on the road.” As for the women, their 10th place finish with 342 points out of 46 teams was led by sophomore Hannah Kuenzi, who placed 18th. Sophomore Erica Munyan and senior Danica Harrison rounded out the top three in 54th and 69th place, respectively. McKenna said that as daunting as the competition can seem, it helps to have that while competing. “It is a great opportunity to face competition from around the country,” McKenna said. “It gives us a feel for what Nationals will be like. The fan presence and the number of runners in the race gives us experience in a big-time environment.” Cheyenne Moore, Leah Rendflesh and Courtney Holland followed up for the Titans with 119th, 126th, and 168th places, respectively. The women are currently 29th in the country, Moore said the ranking doesn’t fully reflect on how well the team is doing. “We are better than we are getting credit for right now,” Moore said. “I can’t wait to show everyone what we can do towards the end of the season.” In the next meet, the men’s and women’s teams will both be competing at the UW Oshkosh Open on Oct. 23.