UWO Cross Country finishes fourth at St. Olaf Invitational

Liam Beran, Writer

The UW Oshkosh men’s and women’s cross-country teams both finished fourth in their first competition of the season at the St. Olaf Invitational in Northfield, Minnesota on Sept. 17. 

On the men’s team, junior Jason Ford placed fifth individually running a 25:58.6 in the 8K race. Ford was joined by junior Joseph Kehoe (26:15.3) and senior Steven Potter (26:28.8) within the top 20 finishers. Kehoe and Potter placed 10th and 17th respectively. 

On the women’s team, Amelia Lehman, a sophomore, ran a 23:29.5 6K race, which placed her within the top 20 finishers in 17th place. 

Ford attributed the success of himself and his teammates to the coaching of Head Coach Eamon McKenna.

“Eamon has built an individual plan for every athlete on the team, and I trust him with getting us to where we need to be,” Ford said. “We all want to work hard, and by doing that with the team, we can build even more.”

Ford had high praise for his teammates and high hopes for what their team will be able to accomplish this year.

“Throughout my career so far, our team has developed a strong community and support system,” he said. “Simply put, we all care about each other on and off the course. Being able to trust that your teammates will give it their all, no matter what, is a game changer. One of our biggest goals is getting back to the national meet as a team. It will take a great team effort, but I have no doubt in my mind that we will be able to do it.” 

McKenna offered additional goals for the two teams, saying that the teams hope to have national qualifiers competing in the November National Collegiate Athletic Association Championships (NCAA) and to finish in the top half of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC). 

McKenna also made note of team activities not directly related to athletics.

“Our goals include achieving All-Academic Team status from a national scale, which requires a 3.10+ GPA for the whole team, and continuing to serve our community by volunteering at least once a month.”

McKenna highlighted a recent donation of $1,050 to UWO Academic Support of Inclusive Excellence Programs, with funds being raised at an Aug. 6 Titan 5K charity run/walk. 

The men’s and women’s teams donated these funds to various groups on campus that support marginalized/underprivileged students, such as the LGBTQ+ Resource Center, Indigenous Student Support and Wellness, Women’s Center and others, according to a tweet from their Twitter page.

The two teams will next compete at the UW-Eau Claire Blugold Invitational on Friday.