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Blugold Cross Country announces 2018 team awards

Blugold Cross Country announces 2018 team awards

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. ( - The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire cross country team hosted their annual end of the season awards banquet on Sunday, December 16th.  The Blugolds had plenty to celebrate with the women winning conference, finishing 2nd at Regionals, placing 4th at Nationals and earning a team trophy for the second consecutive year (2nd place finish at nationals in 2017).  The men also had a successful season finishing 2nd at Conference, 4th at Regionals and 11th at nationals; which is the 7th consecutive year they have placed 11th or higher at the NCAA Division III Cross Country National Meet. 

This year's individual cross country awards winners, which were voted on by the team, include:

  • Most Valuable Newcomer:
    • Jace Bartz (Fr., White Bear Lake High School (MN))
      • Jace was in the top 7 at every race this season and was also the top newcomer in every race.  Bartz ran his season best 8K time of 26:20 at the WIAC Championships hosted by UW-Eau Claire at Whitetail Golf Course placing 37th overall.  This time ranks him 16th on the All-Time Blugold men's freshmen 8K list.
      • Link to Top 8K Blugold Freshmen List
    • Naomi Long (Fr., Wayzata High School (MN))
      • Naomi was also in the top 7 at every race this season and the top newcomer in every race.  She earned 2nd Team All-Conference honors by finishing 12th at the WIAC Championships.  Her personal best time of 22:55, run at Conference, ranks 6th on the All-Time Blugold women's freshmen 6K list tied with Blugold alum and All-American, Lucy Ramquist.
      • Link to Top 6K Blugold Freshmen List
  • Most Improved:
    • David Bachmeier (Jr., Long Prairie-Grey Eagle High School (MN))
      • David did not compete during the 2017 cross country or 2018 track seasons because of injury but he used this time away from the team to get healthy and build a large aerobic base that was on full display this fall.  David improved his 8K personal best by 1:40 (26:08 at Nationals) and ran his best at the end of the season.  Bachmeier was the Blugolds #6 runner at the WIAC Championships, Midwest Regional Championships and at Nationals.
    • Emma Drangstveit (So., Lakeville North HS (MN))
      • Emma built off her successful freshman cross country and track seasons running as UW-Eau Claire's #3 to 5 runner all season.  Drangstveit saved her best for when it counted most running a lifetime 6K personal best time of 22:21 at Nationals to finish 68th out of 279 competitors.  This time ranks Emma 22nd on the Blugold women's All-Time 6K list.
      • Link to Women's Top 6K and All-American List
  • Most Valuable Runner:
    • Patrick Treacy (Sr., Eau Claire Memorial HS)
      • Patrick was the top runner at every race except at pre-nationals this fall.  This was the most consistent cross country season of his collegiate career, and he ran incredibly strong during the championship season finishing 4th at the WIAC Championships, 13th at the Midwest Regional Championships and an All-American 40th place finish at Nationals.  This is Patrick's second cross country All-American award (he placed 34th at the 2016 National Championships)
      • Link to Men's Top 8K and All-American List
    • Sam Slattery (Sr., Waunakee HS)
      • Sam was also the top runner at every race except for one this cross country season.  Unfortunately, she was sick at Nationals but ran strong despite the illness finishing 70th overall to help the Blugolds to the 4th place team trophy.  Sam had a very strong season as can be seen from these results:  Augsburg Invite – 1st of 312, Blugold Invite – 1st of 327, Pre-Nats Invite at Oshkosh – 9th of 349, WIAC Championships – 2nd of 89, and Midwest Regional Championships – 5th of 255.
  • The Blugold Award is an award that recognizes someone who is an incredible teammate, and this year's winners are:
    • Wyatt Elmer (Sr., Mankato Loyola HS (MN))
      • Wyatt had a great finish to his career running in the Blugolds top four or better at every meet this season.  Wyatt set his 8K personal best at the Midwest Regional Championships, hosted by UWEC at Whitetail Golf Course, where he placed 23rd in 25:21.  Wyatt's team leadership was even more impressive than this season's race results.  His leadership ability was on full display last fall when he chose to give up his regional spot for a teammate who was in a better position to help the team and throughout this fall when he was a team captain.
    • Karen Gomez-Ruiz (Sr., Chatfield HS (MN))
      • Karen had an incredibly consistent summer of training and her hard work showed during the first half of the cross country season.  Unfortunately, the final third of the season did not end the way Karen or the team had hoped because of low Iron stores.  Despite this individual setback Karen remained positive and was an integral part of the team's success.  A great teammate and true leader shine most during moments of challenge and struggle.  Karen proved she is both during this cross country season.

Morgan Marek (Sr., Muskego HS) received her individual All-American (top 40 individual national finish) certificate at the banquet.  Marek saved the best cross country race of her Blugold career for last at nationals finishing 28th of 279 runners with a 6K time of 21:49 and leading the way for the women's trophy finish.

This year's cross country letter award winners were also announced at the banquet and include: