Biggest Race of Year Leads to Success for Maroons

At the UW-Oshkosh Invitational, the largest meet on the cross-country schedule, the men and women both managed to finish in the top ten of 45 schools. The women raced into third while the men took ninth.

By Maggie O'hara

In their largest meet on the season schedule, both of the Maroons’ cross country teams placed in the top 10. On Saturday, both squads competed in the University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh Kollege Town Sports Invitational, which featured a total of 45 schools and more than 1,200 participants. The women’s team placed third with 137 points and the men’s team placed ninth with 326 points. 

On the women’s side, the South Siders placed five of their athletes in the top 40. The top finisher for the Maroons in the 6K race was third-year Khia Kurtenbach, who came in at a time of 21:58.41 earning her 11th place overall. The other top finishers for the women’s squad were third-year Claire Costelloe (29th, 22:42.48), third-year Kelsey Dunn (30th, 22:43.74), third-year Cassidy McPherson (32nd, 22:48.05), and fourth-year Madeleine Horvath (35th, 22:55.44). Although this meet was the first time the women did not find themselves on top of the pack this season, they are incredibly pleased with the outcome of the weekend. 

Third-year Jenny Blazic spoke to the team’s success this weekend. She said, “We performed very well at Oshkosh this weekend with all five of our scorers placing in the top 40, so we feel really good about that and about our ability to move up and work well as a team. Obviously we were excited to finish third behind two very good teams in Wash U and Calvin College and we enjoyed taking on some tougher competition than what we’ve seen in previous meets.” 

The men’s squad was also successful at the meet this weekend, running its way to ninth place in the 8K race with three finishers in the top 100. Leading the pack for the Maroons was fourth-year Timofey Karginov (15th, 25:25.6), followed by third-year Peter Kreuch (79th, 26:18.3) and fourth-year Eyal Hanfling (86th, 26:21.4). 

Hanfling considers this weekend a success and great preparation for the tough schedule to come. “This weekend gave us a great opportunity to preview the rush and crowd that we will hopefully experience at the national meet in Louisville,” Hanfling said. “While the UAA meet will be much smaller than what we saw at Oshkosh, our conference meet will be highly competitive with five nationally ranked men’s teams and three ranked women’s teams.”

Both squads are pleased with how they ran against a dense pack and look toward smaller, highly competitive meets in the following weeks. The teams will see a more tapered practice schedule as they prepare for the last legs of the season. 

“At this point in the season, we’re transitioning from our “grunt-and-groan” phase to a more tapered schedule,” Hanfling said. “Our workouts and runs are designed to maintain the fitness that we’ve gained since our season began in June. We’re still doing multiple workouts each week but focusing our energy on preparing for races and executing a pack-running strategy.”

The Maroons welcome in an off weekend as they prep for a dominant ending to their season. The squad will next lace up for the UAA Championship, which will take place on October 29 at Emory University.