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Cross country finishes near bottom in WIAC meet despite career bests

November 7, 2014

Both the UW-River Falls men and women’s cross country teams saw runners put in career-best days on the course, but that did not translate into good finishes for either of the teams overall as the men placed last out of nine teams in the WIAC meet, while the women finished eighth out of nine teams.

The men’s team saw two runners set career-bests. Junior Jackson Shaw placed 57th overall while running a career-best 27:32. Freshman Ricky Peterson finished right on the tail of Shaw in 58th place setting a career-best 27:32, as well.

The top finisher for the Falcons was junior Daniel Borash. The junior crossed the line in 35th place overall with a time of 26:07.

Senior Zach Ambrose placed 54th, sophomore Elliot Pachniak finished 60th, junior Ryan Ruegsegger placed in 61st, and junior Matthew Pechacek finished in 63rd place to round out the rest of the Falcon men’s team.

The Falcons averaged a time of 27:20 as a team. The winning squad in the men’s competition was UW-Eau Claire. Eau Claire averaged a time of 24:52. Host team UW-La Crosse came in second just ten seconds behind the first place Blugolds.

The men’s team was bit by the injury bug early in the season. The men lost two top runners early on in the season due to non-training injuries according to co-Head Coach Chris Rombough.

The women not only bested its male counterparts with a better team finish, but with more individual career-best finishes as well. The lady Falcons had four runners put in careerbest days during the WIAC conference meet.

The women that finished with career bests all crossed the finish line within 23 seconds of each other.

Freshman Kimberly Carlson finished in 55th place with a career-best of 25:55. Freshman Meagan Weisshahn finished in 56th with a time 26:02. In 57th overall, sophomore Abby Fouts finished with a time of 26:04. Freshman Katie Kammer capped off the new career-bests for the team with a time of 26:18, good for a 58th place finish.

Emma Hayes ran a 26:40, a season-best for the sophomore, for a 59th overall finish.

Oddly enough, the top two finishers for the Falcons were not the ones setting career-bests on Saturday. Junior Deanna Cahoon-Draus came in 50th for the best women Falcon finish with a time of 25:12. Freshman Alex Mikle finished just two spots after in 52nd with a time of 25:37.

The women finished with an average time of 25:46 in its eighth place effort. The women’s title in the WIAC went to La Crosse with an average time of 22:27. UW-Oshkosh came in second place.

Rombough said the women’s team needs a little seasoning, but there’s a reason for that.

“On the women’s side we had a lot of inexperience. All of our women who ran in the conference meet it was their first time running in the meet,” Rombough said. “I don’t want to say we’re in a rebuilding mode, but we’re kind of in a rebuilding mode.”

The conference named its All-Sportsmanship Team on Saturday with each team getting one member elected for displaying exemplary sportsmanship throughout the season. Borash was named to the men’s team while Cahoon-Draus was named to the women’s.

Borash took the accolade like a true sportsman would.

“That [being named to the All-Sportsmanship Team] was a surprise to me. It was a good feeling,” Borash said. “It’s good to know that people see you are supporting your team, because that’s what it’s all about.”

The next step is the NCAA Midwest Regionals to be held on Nov. 15 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Rombough said that there are no qualifying steps for the cross country regionals, so the Falcons will run full men’s and women’s teams next Saturday.