Sophomore Michael Juarez is UW-Oshkosh's top returning runner as the Titans race at Saturday's (Oct. 27) Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Men's Cross Country Championship (Presented by Culver's) in Colfax. The 58th edition of the championship begins at 1 p.m. from the Whitetail Golf Course.
UW-Oshkosh, a 10-time WIAC champion, finished seventh at last year's league meet held in Whitewater with 165 points. UW-La Crosse won its league-record 33rd title a year ago with 35 points while UW-Stout finished second with 64 points and 2016 champion UW-Eau Claire third with 81.
Completing last year's team standings were fourth-place UW-Platteville with 113 points, fifth-place UW-Whitewater with 129, sixth-place UW-Stevens Point with 133, seventh-place UW-Oshkosh and eighth-place UW-River Falls with 260.
UW-La Crosse enters Saturday's meet ranked fifth in the NCAA Division III by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association and UW-Stout 13th.
In addition to the WIAC championships won by UW-La Crosse and UW-Oshkosh, UW-Stevens point owns five league titles, UW-Eau Claire and UW-Platteville four apiece and UW-Whitewater two.
UW-Oshkosh returns seven runners with WIAC Championship experience, including Juarez who finished 19th, sophomore Cody Chadwick who placed 26th and sophomore Lucas Weber who ranked 37th during their first appearance at the league meet a year ago.
UW-Oshkosh's top runner this season has been Weber. He finished second at both the UW-Oshkosh Titan Fall Classic and University of Minnesota Roy Griak Invitational, 17th at the UW-Parkside Vic Godfrey Open and 37th at the UW-Oshkosh Kollege Town Sports Invitational.
UW-Oshkosh senior Jacob Rost will be making his fourth WIAC Championship appearance after placing 74th in 2017, 46th in 2016 and 49th in 2015.
Titans also running in their second WIAC Championship race are sophomores Noah O'Neill and Fabian Salinas Arroyo and junior Justin Skinkis. O'Neill finished 85th at the league meet in 2017 while Skinkis placed 78th and Salinas Arroyo 80th in 2015.
The top seven runners in Saturday's 8,000-meter race will receive All-WIAC first team recognition while runners placing eight through 14 earn All-WIAC second team accolades. Individuals finishing 15 through 20 collect honorable mention laurels.
Returning runners who have earned All-WIAC honors in previous league championships are UW-La Crosse's Thomas Schultz (second in 2017 and fourth in 2016), Josh Schraeder (third in 2017 and 16th in 2016), Tyler Nault (ninth in 2017), Samuel Hinz (11th in 2017 and 12th in 2016), Matt Bourland (12th in 2017); UW-Stout's Alexander Illyushev (sixth in 2017), Tyler Ellefson (eighth in 2017), Dan Ressler (15th in 2017), Joe Van Grinsven (17th in 2017) and Nick Zolondek (18th in 2017); UW-Platteville's Zach Lee (fourth in 2017); UW-Stevens Point's Alex Egbert (13th in 2017) and Matt Stelmasek (20th in 2017); UW-Oshkosh's Juarez (19th in 2017); and UW-Eau Claire's Patrick Treacy (eighth in 2016) and Sam Kuhlmann (15th in 2016).
Written by Ally Gwidt, UW-Oshkosh Sports Information