TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (Blugolds.com) – The UW-Eau Claire men's cross country team recorded its highest finish ever at the NCAA Division III Championship, taking 10th place out of 32 teams at the LaVern Gibson Course today.
The highest finish the Blugolds had previously achieved at NCAA nationals was 11th place in 1998. At NAIA nationals, which the Blugolds competed in prior to joining the NCAA in the early 1990's, Eau Claire's best finish was fourth in 1985 and 1989. Today's finish was the Blugolds' best at nationals since 1992.
The Blugolds claimed 10th place with 323 points while North Central College (Ill.) won its 15th team title in NCAA history and second straight, finishing with 167 points. Calvin College (Mich.) was second with 188 points and Haverford College (Pa.) was third with 189. UW-La Crosse also had a good race today and came in fourth with 190 points.
UW-Stout's Tim Nelson won the individual title as he led the other runners with a time of 24:26.8.
Two Blugolds claimed All-American honors (top 35) as Jeremy Kieser (Sr.-Verona, Wis.) led the way taking 15th place with a time of 24:49.4. Aaron Easker (Sr.-Eland, Wis./Wittenberg-Birnamwood) tied for 26th place with a time of 25:01.9. Prior to today's championship, Jason Finch was the Blugolds' only NCAA All-American, an honor he earned in 1998 when taking sixth place. Only three others in school history earned NAIA All-American status.
Also scoring for Eau Claire were Adam Moline (So.-Maple Grove, Minn./Wayzata) in 78th with a time of 25:33.4, Conor Rafferty (Sr.-Menomonee Falls, Wis.) in 148th with a time of 26:01.4 and Paul Hetke (Jr.-Chetek, Wis.) in 173rd with a time of 26:12.9.