Men's Cross Country Finishes Ninth at NCAA Championship

Men's Cross Country Finishes Ninth at NCAA Championship

HANOVER, Ind. ( - For the second consecutive year, the UW-Eau Claire men's cross country team is leaving nationals with the best finish in school history as a part of the NCAA Division III.

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Led by a 13th-place and All-American finish from Ryan Mugan (So.-Howards Grove, Wis.), the Blugolds placed ninth overall out of 32 teams with 305 points at the NCAA Division III Championship, hosted by Hanover College. The Blugolds placed 10th a year ago. St. Olaf College (Minn.) won the meet with 84 points, capturing its first national title in history.

Mugan, who placed 224th a year ago, moved up over 200 spots this season to nab his first career trophy finish. He covered the 8,000-meter course in 25:02.6.

Christian Leitner (So.-Red Wing, Minn.) was second on the team in first trip to nationals. He placed 55th overall in a time of 25:36.4.

Also competing his first national meet, Nick Petersson (So.-Brookfield, Wis./Central) crossed the line in 76th place in a time of 25:45.7.

Matt Wenaas (Sr.-Chippewa Falls, Wis./McDonell), who placed 194th last year, bettered himself by 62 places this year by coming 132nd this year in a time of 26:07.9.

Matt Scott (Sr.-Kiel, Wis.) came in 146th place in his first race at cross country nationals. His time was 26:13.7.

Paul Hetke (Sr.-Chetek, Wis.) and Erik Rosvold (Jr.-Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview) also competed for the Blugolds Saturday. It was Rosvold's first appearance at nationals.

The national meet caps off one of the best season's in team history. The Blugolds placed second at conference on Nov. 2 and came within five points of capturing their first conference title since 1980. They also had their highest finish ever at NCAA regionals a week ago by placing fourth.