Cross Country gears up for Roy Griak with Tom Hoffman Invite

Michael Johrendt

Having never ran at the Tom Hoffman Invitational, the UW Oshkosh men’s and women’s cross country teams took home promising finishes this past Saturday, with both teams recording sixth-place finishes.

On the men’s side, UW-La Crosse finished first with 18 total points. As for the women, the Eagles won with 15 points.
Charlend Howard said Both teams were mostly comprised of freshmen in this race due to the impending Roy Griak Invitational next weekend.
“It provides a good opportunity for our freshmen to run here,” Howard said. “Eamon ran here in college so he will talk to us about the course and where everything is. We really try to keep the same routine.”

The women’s team totaled 160 points, placing them just out of fifth place. Of the seven runners that Oshkosh had run at Whitewater, four were freshmen.
Leading the charge for the Titans was senior Michelle Draxler, who finished 14th. Junior runner Jessi Stamn was 24th, freshman Amanda Van den plas (33rd), Tayah Cunningham (35th), Ashlyn Schwind (54th) and Breanna Van den plas (55th) made up the first-year participants for Oshkosh, with sophomore Allie Broeniman taking 57th place.
With this being the first time that each squad ran at this meet, Draxler said it offered the team a unique experience running against new opponents.
“Running at a new course gave us the opportunity to run against other schools we don’t get to compete against,” Draxler said. “It was a great meet to participate in because it helps prepare us for the more important meets later this season.”

For the men, they built off their strong performance last week at the Midwest Open by taking sixth place on Saturday.
Similar to the women participants, the men also had freshmen make up the majority of their runners.
Of the seven men running for Oshkosh, four were freshmen. One sophomore, junior, and senior made up the rest of the ranks for the Titans.
Even with the amount of freshmen running in this event for both teams, head coach Eamon McKenna said that without the guidance of the upperclassmen, the team would not be as far as they are now.

“Our upperclassmen do a great job of being active by touching base with the underclassmen and they communicate at practice,” McKenna said. “They tend to be the positive leaders during our harder [events], and on meet days [they] take charge and lead warm ups.”
Taking home top honors for Oshkosh was junior Daniel Massey in 14th, while senior Derrick Rufer was 40th. The top-finishing freshman was Trevor Faldet in 43rd, with sophomore Corbin Bevry (44th) mixed in between the other three freshmen for Oshkosh. Collin Borazo (45th), Nick Engels (46th) and Henry Laste (48th) were the other freshmen tallying points for the Titans.

Charlend Howard, one of four seniors on the team, stressed the amount of effort they put in to make the team better and more well rounded.
“We all have run under Jordan Carpenter and have been taught by McKenna,” Howard said. “We are competitive, regardless of if it is simple. No matter what, we [will show that] we are better than anyone else and we will do whatever we can to get back to Nationals.”
Next up for both teams is one of the most important meets early on in the season, the Roy Griak Invitational on Sept. 24 in Minnesota.