Winneconne, Wis. – The Pioneers competed in the Kollege Town Sports Pre-National Invitational hosted by University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh on Saturday, Oct. 13th. The conditions of the course could have been described as less than ideal, with heavy rains earlier in the fall season leading to wet, muddy grounds. Runners paid extra attention to their footwork in the slippery conditions. Many teams from the Midwest region competed, allowing for an opportunity for the Pioneers to showcase their fitness levels against regional and national level competition.
The Pioneer men's team finished in 22nd place of 50 teams, scoring 597 points. The winning team, North Central, scored 41 points. Among the 17 teams from the Midwest Region, the Pioneer men came in eighth.
Finishing in 12th place individually out of 343 runners, Zach Lee clocked 25:27.93. Relatively close behind, Zach Klokow finished in 35th place with a time of 25:52.33. Klokow was just shy of a personal record by about 7 seconds.
Senior Alex Clark ran 26:57.15, coming in as the Pioneer's third runner in 153rd place. Nolan Wallenkamp finished in 199th place at 27:21.42, followed by Isaac Schuetz running in 203rd place with a time of 27:25.56. Mitch Muffler crossed the finish line in 27:34.81, finishing in 215th place. Freshman Ben Trihey took 253rd place with a time of 27:59.99 at his first pre-national race appearance.
The Pioneer women's team placed 31st among the 50 teams in attendance. The UW-Platteville women scored 865 points. The winning team, Washington University, scored 70 points. There were 18 teams from the Midwest Region competing in the women's pre-nationals race. The Pioneer women finished 11th among the regional teams.
Arriving to the finish line first for the Pioneer women was Johanna Meister. Meister finished in 47th place out of 349 runners with a time of 23:08.39. Meister was followed by Janelle Ferguson crossing in 130th place with a time of 24:06.39.
Caitlyn Ifft returned to the racing scene after taking a few weekends off; Ifft ran 24:44.87 to come in 193rd place. Senior Katie Wardinski was the fourth Pioneer to toe the finish line, finishing in 210th place with a time of 24:55.09. Rounding out the Pioneer's scoring, sophomore Brenna Kautz ran 26:11.13 for 285th place. Dani Nelson and Anna Drazkowski finished the 6,000m race in 26:24.64 and 26:39.69 respectively.
The Pioneers have two weeks until the WIAC Cross Country Championships hosted by UW-Eau Claire at Whitetail Golf Course in Colfax, Wisconsin on Saturday, Oct. 27.