UW Oshkosh Open moved to Whitewater, both men and women teams take second

Billy Piotrowski, Sports Writer

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The UW Oshkosh cross-country team is gearing up for the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship this Saturday. The Titans had one last stop on the road to the championship last Friday, Oct. 19, at the UW Oshkosh Open on the UW-Whitewater cross-country course.

It was a good day for UWO as both the men and women placed second in their respective races. Head coach Eamon McKenna talked about the performance of both teams and how the conference lineups are shaping up.

“We were using Friday to finalize our conference lineup and to continue our goal of improving on a weekly basis,” McKenna said. “It was also the last race of the season for some of our student-athletes, so it was nice for them to be able to compete one last time this season.”

McKenna said his expectations were met by the runners who don’t normally get a chance to compete.

“Both teams performed well, and I was pleased that both the men and the women were the top conference team at the meet. We sat out our top-10 men, and it was nice to have a number of strong performances from the rest of our crew.”

Several UWO runners ran for individual bests and achieved a spot on the varsity roster McKenna said.

“Parker Scheld and Noah O’Neill ran very strong races to earn spots on our conference team, and Andrew Rathkamp ran a great race to set a new personal record,” McKenna said. “We sat out our top-three women, and in that race, Breanna Van Den Plas and Elizabeth Reddeman set new personal records with awesome performances.”

The Titan men finished second of four teams, with 51 points behind seventh- and eighth place finishes from Scheld and O’Neill. The women finished second out of five teams with 59 points, with Van Den Plas and Reddeman finishing 14th and 15th.

Scheld, went into the UW Oshkosh Open facing the possibility that it could have been the final race of the year.

“Heading into the race on Friday, I knew it could potentially be my last race of the season if I didn’t set myself up for a conference spot on the team,” Scheld said. “In my head I knew I had nothing to lose and gave it my all.”

For the women, senior Hannah Thorn finished 23rd. With the season entering its last few races, Thorn said the team’s mindset has helped them grow this season.

“We all just wanted to put out a hard effort before conference this weekend,” Thorn said. “I think our group dynamic and mindset has been the best improvement we have made this season. We are a lot more positive and supportive this year than we have been in the past.”

McKenna said he also noticed the support the teams have been giving each other throughout the season. McKenna noted how that is just one of the many improvements the teams have made this season.

“Both teams have demonstrated an improved attitude toward work ethic, consistent hard work and competitiveness,” Mckenna said. “Those are things we were looking to target this season, and both the women’s and the men’s teams have grown together in order to raise their level of competitiveness and their positive attitude toward hard work on a daily and weekly basis. It will be fun to see the results over the last month of the season.”

The Titans will compete in the WIAC Championship meet this Saturday, The meet will be held at the Whitetail Golf Course in Colfax, Wisconsin with the first race starting at noon.