CC earns first-place finish

Nate Proell

For the third straight year, the UW Oshkosh men’s cross country team earned a first-place finish at the Roy Griak Invitational, while women’s senior Cheyenne Moore ran to a maroon title victory this past Saturday in Falcon Heights, Minn. to earn Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Athlete Of The Week.

Titans’ head coach Eamon McKenna said considering the runners were battling temperatures in the mid-80s, the Titans had a well-rounded performance overall, especially the men.

“It was awesome for our men to win a third straight division three Roy Griak championship this past weekend,” McKenna said. “The meet is not as deep or competitive as it used to be, but it still is a great accomplishment for our men’s team, especially as we have a very young, inexperienced team this year.
Putting nine guys in the top-20 was a strong showing, and our guys did a good job of moving together throughout the race.”

The men had seven runners finish the 8,000-meter race within 64 seconds of each other to place in the top 13 and score 35 points overall.

The men’s runners who placed in the top 13 include freshman Lucas Weber, who took second with a time of 27:50; freshman Michael Juarez, who placed fifth with a time of 28:14; junior Brian McKnight who took seventh; freshman Spencer Muffler was 11th; junior Jacob Rost 12th; freshman Cody Chadwick placed 10th and freshman Noah O’Neill was 13th.

Chadwick said he enjoyed the experience and felt proud of the way the team competed together.

“Coming in top-10 individually felt really good, as I was more focused on the placing at this meet than the time I ran due to the hot conditions and tough course,” Chadwick said. “It’s awesome when you can pack so many guys in the top 15 to win the meet, and it is even more of a cool experience to be on a team that has won it three years in a row.”

Weber said the meet was a challenge, considering the gruelling heat. However, he said he is pleased with the way the team was able to still manage to race hard.

“The atmosphere at Griak was awesome, but the temperatures were tough to combat,” Weber said. “Everyone really struggled in the heat and the course is the toughest one we face all year. I was happy to take second place, but the meet was more about competing as a team and improving as a group.”

McKenna said he is happy with the way Weber was able to combat the atmosphere and pull away with a second-place finish. He is encouraged by his performance considering how little collegiate experience Weber had.

“Lucas Weber had a very nice race in his second collegiate race,” McKenna said. “He handled the heat pretty well, and he managed to move up throughout the race. He has shown a lot of poise early in his career, and that will serve him well as he continues to add strength and starts to face better competition as the season progresses.”

Other notable finishes for the men include senior Dan Massey in 15th, freshman Skyler Yunk 20th, sophomore Jack Rindahl took 32nd, and freshman Noah Bruehl finished in 34th.

For the women, the highlight was Moore’s maroon title victory in the 6,000-meter course, which occurred in come-from-behind fashion.

Moore earned her finishing time of 22:55 after being 14 seconds behind the leader at the halfway point of the race. Over the second half of the race, Moore closed in on the leader before taking the lead for good with about 300 meters remaining in the race.

McKenna said he is very impressed with the way Moore performed, especially considering the field was comprised of both Division-II and Division-III athletes.
“Cheyenne Moore had an awesome race,” McKenna said. “In a very crowded field, Cheyenne stayed patient and executed her plan very well.”

With Moore taking home the victory for the Titans, McKenna said the team can feed off of this performance to finish out the year.

“It is an awesome accomplishment to win Roy Griak as an individual, especially in a competitive field like the women faced on Saturday,” McKenna said.
“Cheyenne becomes our fourth Titan in school history to be a Roy Griak champion, and she’ll look for more big accomplishments later in the season.”

With the next closest finish to Moore being the 16th place finish from sophomore Ashton Keene in the 6,000-meter course, McKenna admits the women’s team has not been up to full speed as of late.

“The women struggled this past weekend,” McKenna said. “We are young and we are dealing with quite a few injuries. We had one of our top five runners drop out, and a couple have been struggling with ailments. We will look to get healthy and we should be more confident in another month as we approach championship season.”

Some other Titans who had notable finishes include the 27th place time of 25:28 from freshman Hannah Lohrenz, 51st place from junior Hannah Thorn and the 56th place finish freshman Reece Matheson.

Thorn said she realizes the team did not perform up to their standards, however, the meet was a good experience.

“We just used this meet as another racing experience,” Thorn said. “Griak is a tough course and this year we raced with around 600 other people so it was just a learning experience for a lot of our racers. We didn’t do as well as we wanted as a team, but the season is still early and we have a lot of training and racing left to do.”

The Titans travel to Eau Claire next weekend to compete in the UW-Eau Claire Blugold Invitational.