Led by returning top-10 runner John Dewitt (Sr. • Oshkosh), UW-Oshkosh aims to defend its title at the WIAC Men's Cross Country Championship on Saturday (Oct. 27) in Cuba City.
The 52nd edition of the event begins at noon on the 8,000-meter Cole Acres Golf Course.
Last year, UW-Oshkosh scored 51 points to capture its 10th conference crown. 2009 champion UW-La Crosse finished second with 64 points, while UW-Platteville placed third with 81, 2010 champion UW-Stevens Point fourth with 93 and UW-Eau Claire fifth with 130.
This season, the WIAC has six teams ranked among the finest in the NCAA Division III by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. UW-La Crosse ranks sixth to lead the group, while UW-Eau Claire is eighth, UW-Stevens Point 14th, UW-Platteville 20th, UW-Oshkosh 31st and UW-Stout 34th.
A year ago, Tim Nelson became the first individual in UW-Stout history to claim the WIAC individual crown. He is expected to be challenged for this year's crown by Dewitt, Connor Rafferty of UW-Eau Claire, Josh Kaul and Mark Punzenberger of UW-La Crosse and Matt Borneman and Derek Fahrenkrug of UW-Platteville.
Dewitt, who finished eighth last year and 12th in 2010, is one of four UW-Oshkosh runners with experience from last year's WIAC Championship. John Block (Jr. • Madison) placed 60th last year, while Derek Johnsrud (Jr. • Fall River) finished 69th and Matt Champan (Jr. • Waukesha) 79th.
UW-Oshkosh's remaining runners will be Jerrod Berget (Jr. • New Richmond), Jacob Clarke (Fr. • Racine), Mike Foust (Jr. • Oshkosh), Kenny Halloran (So. • Mount Prospect, Ill.), Max Kramer (Jr. • Oshkosh), Matt Lawrence (So. • Plainfield, Ill.), Ryne Scopp (So. • Kenosha) and Wilson Tobe (So. • Middleton). Halloran finished 57th and Berget 87th at the 2010 WIAC Championship.
The top seven finishers receive All-WIAC first team recognition, while runners placing eighth through 14th earn All-WIAC second team accolades.