By Brendon Paucek, UWEC Sports Information
COLFAX, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – The No. 13-ranked University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire women's cross country team continued their exciting season this past weekend at the Blugold Invitational.
In a dominating performance, the Blugolds won their home meet, scoring 47 points and beating runner up UW-La Crosse by a 29-point margin. It was the first time the Blugold runners won their home meet since 2009—a year that ended with a national championship.
Similar to their previous race, the women's race plan was to be patient and run in packs during the first third, get into position the second third, and pass as many runners as possible the final third.
"They executed their race plan phenomenally well," said Head Coach Dan Schwamberger. "Almost from top to bottom people maintained position from 3K to the finish but most people moved up a lot. I was just really proud of them, and it was a really fun meet to watch."
The women were led by a strong front pack, which finished in a 29-second spread. The women's top five included Morgan Marek (Jr. Muskego, WI/Muskego), Joanne Reiners (Jr. – Bristol, WI/Westosha Central),
Callie Fischer (Oneida, WI/Ashwaubenon), Melody Becker (Sr. – Osseo, WI/Homeschooled), and Annika Lerdall (Fr. – Plymouth, MN/Wayzata). Reiners and Becker ran particularly well, passing 30 or more runners each during the later part of the race.
The top five finished the 6,000m course in 6th (22:20), 8th (22:28), 10th (22:34), 15th (22:44), and 20th (22:49), respectively.
Although the women began the season largely unnoticed in the national rankings, their two team victories have proven the Blugolds have a huge upside and are capable of running with the nation's best.
"I think it should have them to see what's possible for the rest of the season, "said Schwamberger. "It's no secret that they're for real."
The Blugolds will spend the next week training hard for their next big test, the Pre-Nationals invite at Principia College in Elsah, IL.