Cross country competes at conference

Michael Johrendt

The UW Oshkosh men’s and women’s cross country teams ran in their respective Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship meets on Oct. 31 and both came away with top three finishes as a team. The men took home bronze, as they finished third out of eight teams with a total of 82 points at the Lake Breeze Golf Club in Winneconne on Saturday. The Max Sparger Scholar Athlete award winner senior Jordan Carpenter led the Titans with a fifth-place finish and junior Charlend Howard placed seventh. As a team, they were edged out for second place by UW-La Crosse by two points. Carpenter and Howard were both named first team All-WIAC for their efforts. Freshman Wal Khat took home 14th, senior Roberto Lara was 16th, and freshman Brian McKnight finished 40th for the Titans, who saw seven of their runners finish in the top fifty. Khat earned second team All-WIAC and Lara was a recipient of All-WIAC honorable mention. Head Coach Eamon McKenna said that even with this third-place performance, there is always something to be learned and taken away from it. “On the men’s side, we had our best race of the season through our top four runners,” McKenna said. “Those guys executed with purpose and confidence. However, we need them to close the last 1000 even better. Unfortunately, due to injury and illness, we struggled getting our fifth runner to where we expect him to be. Hopefully in the next two weeks we can be ready and improved in that regard.” For the women, they secured their first title since 2000, which was the year their streak of 15 consecutive titles ended. Senior Kylee Verhasselt, sophomore Hannah Kuenzi and senior Danica Harrison were the leaders for the Titans, as their third, seventh, and ninth-place respective finishes pushed them to the win. Sophomore Isabella Tremonti said the element of surprise was on their side at the meet. “Compared to the beginning of the season, our team has improved dramatically,” Tremonti said. “I think we surprised some people and even ourselves. It’s amazing to see all of us getting better each week and we still have a ways to go.” Sophomore Erica Munyan took home thirteenth place and senior Leah Rendflesh finished 15th for the Titans. Eight of the twelve runners for Oshkosh finished in the top 50, and five of those eight in the top 20. Verhasselt and Kuenzi both earned first team All-WIAC recognition, with Harrison and Munyan earning second team recognition, while Rendflesh took honorable mention status. Rendflesh said that the confidence gained throughout the entire season has no limits. “We’ve come such a long way since the beginning of the season,” Rendflesh said. “If someone would’ve told me that we could win conference I wouldn’t have believed them. It’s a great feeling to see how much our hard work has paid off.” Both of the teams wait until Nov. 14 for the NCAA Division III Midwest Regional in Rock Island, Illinois.