UW-Oshkosh seeks another top-four finish when it runs at the WIAC Men's Cross Country Championship (Presented by Culver's) on Saturday (Oct. 29).
The 56th edition of the championship will be held at the Wisconsin River Golf Club in Stevens Point. The men's 8,000-meter race is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. and will be preceded by a women's 6,000-meter championship race at 12 p.m.
Last year, UW-Eau Claire scored 33 points to capture its second straight WIAC title and third overall. UW-La Crosse finished second to the Blugolds with 80 points while UW-Oshkosh placed third with 82, UW-Platteville fourth with 104, UW-Stevens Point fifth with 111, UW-Stout sixth with 153, UW-Whitewater seventh with 191 and UW-River Falls eighth with 204.
UW-Oshkosh last won the WIAC title in 2011. The Titans have since finished sixth at the championship in 2012, third in 2013, fourth in 2014 and third last year.
Two of this year's WIAC teams are ranked among the finest in the NCAA Division III as UW-Eau Claire ranks fourth by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association and UW-La Crosse seventh.
Individually, UW-Platteville's Ian LaMere aims for a second straight title after winning last year's crown with a time of 24:08. LaMere placed fifth at the 2014 WIAC Championship after finishing 11th in 2012.
Returning runners who have secured All-WIAC honors at previous league championships are: UW-Eau Claire's Darin Lau (9th in 2014 & 4th in 2015), Matt Cooper (19th in 2015) and Nick Petersson (13th in 2013); UW-La Crosse's Ian Ewers (11th in 2015), Jonah Weisse (8th in 2014 & 15th in 2015), and Austin Zajkowski (10th in 2015); UW-Oshkosh's Charlend Howard (7th in 2015) and Joe Zack (20th in 2014); UW-River Falls' Julian Manley (13th in 2015); UW-Stevens Point's Michael Evans (16th in 2014), Neil Pedersen (9th in 2015) and Dane Tyler (12th in 2015); UW-Stout's Devin Sauvola (17th in 2014); and UW-Whitewater's Brett Harms (8th in 2015).
Howard also finished 26th for the Titans at the 2014 WIAC Championship while Zack placed 58th in 2015 and 75th in 2013.
Other UW-Oshkosh runners with WIAC Championship experience are Trevor Damkot, Tyler Miletti, Mitch Pauers and Jacob Rost. Damkot finished 48th in 2015 and 89th in 2014 while Miletti placed 46th in 2014 and 57th in 2013. Pauers ranked 64th at the league meet in 2015 and 62nd in 2013 and Rost 49th in 2015.
UW-La Crosse owns 32 of the 55 WIAC titles, while UW-Oshkosh follows with 10, UW-Stevens Point with five and UW-Platteville with four. UW-La Crosse and UW-Oshkosh tied for the championship in 1992.
The top seven runners in the meet receive All-WIAC first team recognition, while runners placing eight through 14 earn All-WIAC second team accolades. Individuals finishing 15 through 20 claim honorable mention laurels.
All eight WIAC teams will participate at the NCAA Division III Midwest Regional on Nov. 12 at the Lake Breeze Golf Club in Winneconne. The regional event will be hosted by UW-Oshkosh. The NCAA Division III Championship will be held Nov. 19 in Louisville, Ky.