“The UW Oshkosh men’s and women’s cross-country teams began their seasons this past weekend at the UW-Parkside Midwest Open and came away with strong finishes. The men tallied a fourth place finish, while the women took home sixth, with each team having to replace key runners that graduated after last year.
For the men’s team, senior Charlend Howard led the squad with a sixthplace finish. Senior Tyler Miletti brought home 21st, sophomore Jacob Rost 24th and senior Joe Zack was 25th. The team’s total times were less than a minute away from third place.
Both teams are striving to begin their seasons right where they left off last year. According to Zack, everything begins with confidence.
“For success in running it is integral to have confidence in your abilities, both individually and as a team,” Zack said. “I think our team is in a good spot coming off of a successful season last year with increased experience, which only furthers our confidence and motivation to succeed more.”
With trying to replicate their success from last year, gaining experience is key for the team. Junior Mitch Pauers said using last year as a benchmark is key to their success this year.
“Last year we had a younger team and we were able to gain experience,” Pauers said. “The guys we have returning this year are more mature and ready to improve on how we did last season.”
The men have to replace the production of two high finishers this year in Jordan Carpenter and Roberto Lara. According to coach Eamon McKenna, the loss of Carpenter’s production is especially huge.
“[Carpenter] has been a constant presence since I took over [at UWO] and he helped us cultivate a spirit of competitiveness as athletes, students and people,” McKenna said. “His returning teammates have learned a lot, and will have to bring that same attitude to our team moving forward. Our goals for both teams are to qualify for the NCAA Championships, earn All-Academic Team honors, and be active and positive community members.”
In the women’s event, Oshkosh took home sixth place out of 13 teams. Leading the charge for the Titans were juniors Cheyenne Moore in 24th, Erica Munyan in 25th, Kristen Linzmeier 28th and freshman Ashton Keene in 35th. In 46th place was senior Leah Rendflesh, 61st was junior Cammy Garvelink, and sophomore Hannah Thorn took home 63rd.
McKenna said returning athletes are coming back for both squads, and for the women to repeat as champions, their knowledge and experience will be key.
“This year is the first time in a couple years for the men and women in which we return multiple athletes that have championship experience,” McKenna said. “We have a number of proven veterans on each team, so it is important for them to remember how hard they worked to achieve their goals and to instill that work ethic with the younger members. It is key that we set the tone early as we will be counting on the younger runners to step in and contribute alongside the returners.”
Next week, both the men and women return to running at the Tom Hoffman Invitational hosted by Whitewater on Sept. 17.