WINNECONNE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – The UW-Eau Claire men's cross country team secured a fifth place finish out of 39 teams at the 2012 NCAA Division III Midwest Regional at Lake Breeze Golf Club today.
North Central College (Ill.) won the regional with 58 points while UW-La Crosse was second with 114 and Washington University-St. Louis (Mo.) took third with 135. Coming in fourth was Wheaton College (Ill.) with 140 and the Blugolds were fifth with 145.
UW-Stout's Tim Nelson took first out of 271 runners with a time of 24:24.67.
The Blugolds had two runners finish in the top six, led by Aaron Easker (Sr.-Eland, Wis./Wittenberg-Birnamwood) in fourth place. He crossed the finish line on the 8,000-meter course with a time of 24:27.20. Jeremy Kieser (Sr.-Verona, Wis.) took sixth with a time of 24:36.67.
Coming in next for Eau Claire was Adam Moline (So.-Maple Grove, Minn./Wayzata), who finished 26th with a time of 25:10. Matt Wenaas (Jr.-Chippewa Falls, Wis./McDonell) and Conor Rafferty (Sr.-Menomonee Falls, Wis.) finished very close to each other, in 54th and 55th respectively. They crossed the line with times of 25:43.46 and 25:44.04.
The finish was the Blugolds' best since the 2009 season when they also took fifth. In 2010 they were sixth while they were 11th last year.
The top two teams in the regional automatically qualify for nationals, which will be contested next Saturday in Indiana. As a team, the Blugolds could still earn an at-large bid and the complete selections will be announced Sunday on NCAA.com. UPDATE: Sunday, the Blugolds earned an at-large selection to nationals.