EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – While the UW-Eau Claire men's and women's cross country teams have already competed in an Alumni/Open meet, they will kick off the main portion of their season this weekend.
The Blugolds will be tested right away this season as they compete in two meets over the next two days. They will be at the St. Mary's Invitational on Friday and will then be at the University of Minnesota's Roy Griak Invitational, one of the nation's largest and most prestigious cross country events, Saturday.
The Blugold women, ranked No. 5 in the nation, finished last season in fourth place at nationals after winning the national title the season before. They have also won four straight WIAC titles and have finished eighth or better at national all four years.
This season, the Blugolds bring back seven letterwinners, including four out of the seven that competed at nationals last season.
Alyssa Sybilrud (Sr.-Savage, Minn./Burnsville) highlights the group of returners. A two-time All-American, she finished in 23rd place at nationals last year after recording a 21st place finish in 2009.
For the men, six letterwinners from a season ago return to this year's squad. The men received votes in the latest national poll.
While the Blugolds' lone participant at nationals last year finished his career, three who competed at the NCAA regionals a season ago are back.
Aric Runzheimer (Jr.-Delafield, Wis./Kettle Moraine) had the best finish out of the returners at regionals last year, finishing in 30th place. He also had the Blugolds' top finish at the WIAC Championship as he took 14th overall.