Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Cross Country ends year strong

After earning an at-large bid due to their impressive performance at the Midwest Regional, the UW Oshkosh women’s cross country team earned another top-16 finish at the NCAA Division III Women’s Cross Country Championship on Nov. 19 in Kentucky.

The men, who did not receive a bid to the final, sent senior Tyler Miletti based on his individual merits.

Junior Cheyenne Moore took home top honors for the Titans, finishing in 45th place. Juniors Kristen Linzmeier and Erica Munyan were next up, with Linzmeier finishing 102nd and Munyan in 105th, respectively.

Freshman Ashton Keene (174th), senior Leah Rendflesh (229th), senior Michelle Draxler (263rd) and junior Jessica Stamn (271st) rounded out the results for Oshkosh.

Moore recorded her first championship race with Munyan and Linzmeier both running to career bests in their second consecutive championship races.

This marks the second year the women are under the supervision of head coach Eamon McKenna and the second consecutive year in which the women made the NCAA final.

With the expectations coming into the season being set high, freshman Breanna Van Den Plas said the outlook they set matched up with the ending results.

“The results of the season are matching up nicely considering the amount of injuries we have,” Van Den Plas said. “Luckily, I got the opportunity to run on the conference team and experience the thrill of earning second place as a team. The regional team did nothing but impress us all, [as] they took fourth overall just one point behind third.”

In 2015, the women finished in 15th place and with the streak of top-16 finishes in the team event being continued in 2016, the team has now had 23 top-16 finishes in the national championship race.

McKenna said the women had their sights set on earning a berth at the NCAA Championship since the beginning of the season.

“It took a while, as we dealt with some fitness and injury issues, but the women did an excellent job of coming together, staying positive throughout the season and maintaining their focus on the daily process of getting better instead of looking too far ahead,” McKenna said. “The women ran their best race of the season on Saturday and it paid off with a trip to Nationals.”

The men ran to a seventh-place tally in the Midwest Regional on Nov. 12, but were unable to earn a chance to improve upon their thirteenth-place finish in last year’s NCAA final.

With Miletti earning an individual bid into the race stemming from placing 13th in the Midwest Regional for the men, he was able to improve on his 141st place finish from the final a year ago by finishing 114th out of 278 participants to cap off his season.

Miletti’s time of 25:28.2 was less than two minutes off the pace of the leader.

This is McKenna’s fifth consecutive year coaching the men’s cross country team at UWO after coaching at Wisconsin Lutheran College and he said even though the men as a team were unable to qualify for Nationals, there were high achievements the team accomplished this season.

“Two of our top five guys were out all season due to injury, so that affected our chances,” McKenna said. “Our men’s team also had their best race of the season at Regionals, but it just wasn’t enough to earn the bid to Nationals. Tyler Miletti qualified as an individual, and that was a secondary goal of ours, to at least have representation at Nationals for both genders.”

With the season over for both squads, the views switch to looking forward to next season. Freshman Joe Zack said for the returning members, he feels they will be able to make vast improvements to prepare for next season.

“I am confident that with the returning guys, we will close the gap as best as we can,” Zack said. “We have the talent to do some big things as a team, and it is time to actualize it.”

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