Cross country earns two top five finishes at conference

Alex Nemec

The UW Oshkosh Titans cross country team ran at the conference tournament this past weekend, where the women finished in 2nd place and the men finished in 4th.

Junior Cheyenne Moore finished in 1st place in the women’s race after finishing 45th in last year’s conference race, while senior Tyler Miletti finished 6th in the men’s race after missing last year’s conference race due to an injury.

Head coach Eamon McKenna said they expect to be better than UW-Eau Claire, but it still feels good to beat them, even though the Blugolds aren’t UWO’s main rival.

“Our main rival is La Crosse,” McKenna said. “They’re the team we’re typically out to get.”

Moore said finishing in first was exciting because of the retribution of being better than she was after her 2015 finish at conference.

“I didn’t really have any expectations coming into this year since I did so poorly last year,” Moore said. “So to not only get better, but get better by that much is exciting.”

Moore said she was nervous finishing the race because she has a habit of getting out kicked, or getting passed at the very end.

“It was weird,” Moore said. “[It] didn’t really sink in until I could breathe again.”

McKenna said he was pleased with how the women finished because they got beat by the Blugolds earlier in the season.

“Our primary goal was to finish within the top two,” McKenna said. “Eau Claire had beaten us two weeks prior, so one of our main priorities was to beat them, which we did.”

McKenna said the men hoped to be third, but had finished where they were ranked, while Miletti had a career race.

“Tyler [Miletti], obviously ran awesome,” McKenna said. “Best race of his career to this point.”

Miletti said one of his goals for the season was to finish top 20 on the conference team.

“I was, kind of, not expecting to race that well this weekend,” Miletti said. “The goal for me [this weekend] was to try to race with the top 10 guys and see where I came in.”

Miletti said he crushed his career goal of running a sub-25 minute race by finishing with a time of 24:38.

According to McKenna, Miletti was part of his first recruiting class and it has been awesome to see Miletti’s journey through his career.

“Honestly, [placing high at conference] is something I envisioned for [Miletti],” McKenna said. “Maybe a year ago I didn’t think it would come this easily as this past month has gone for him, but I knew he was talented and that he should do something big things here before he left.”

Miletti wants to be good and expects to be good, but enjoys having teammates succeed as well and overall, is very team-oriented, according to McKenna.

“He wants his teammates to be good and wants to be part of something special,” McKenna said.

Moore said she didn’t have a set, consistent goal all year.

“My goals keep kind of changing cause I keep running faster than I expected,” Moore said. “Coming into the season, I didn’t think I’d be this good.”

According to Moore, finishing in 1st place this past weekend helped her refine her goals and realize what she could be capable of.

“It helped give me confidence that I can probably do what I want to do,” Moore said.

McKenna said the work Moore has put in has changed her attitude, which included developing a competitive hunger.

“Last year, like she has mentioned, it didn’t go the way we had hoped,” McKenna said. “It was frustrating for both us that last year didn’t come together the way we had hoped right off the bat.”

McKenna said it was cool to see Moore push him to help her be a better runner and improve by asking for more milage in runs.

“A lot of people like to be told what to do, but won’t push you as a coach to really be more demanding of them,” McKenna said. “So it was kind of cool to see that over the past year of her wanting to increase workload.”

According to McKenna, the athletes deserve all the credit for how they finish in their competitions, even though they might say he has helped them through it.

“For the most part…you don’t make the jumps these two have made and you don’t overcome some of the setbacks that these two have made without having a lot of individual perseverance, and trust in yourself,” McKenna said.

McKenna said he wants his runners to focus on all of the important things in life.

“We have a checklist every single day of things that we want to accomplish as athletes, as students and as people, and if you take care of business everyday then you just get to trust that when you show up in November during championship season.”

UWO will race at the NCAA Division III Midwest Regionals on Nov. 12 at Lake Breeze Golf Club in Winneconne, WI. The women start at 11 a.m. and the men start at noon.