Teams start strong at home

Justin St. Peter, Sports Editor

By: Justin St. Peter

Sept. 14, 2016


Typically many cross country teams would not have the only home meet as the first of the season.

Head coach Jeff Miller, of the men’s and women’s cross country teams, said his teams are not like the other teams on campus. He said he believes that the team is more prepared for the season by running on the tougher home track at the start of the year.

“Our course is pretty hard,” Miller said. “When we get to other courses, everybody gets to say, ‘Wow, these aren’t so hard.’ It’s a nice way to start the season because we are running on a tough course and can see improvement throughout the year.”


The men’s team returns national qualifier junior Brett Harms, who consistently placed as the No. 1 runner for UW-W last year.

Harms won two meets last year and finished eighth in the WIAC Championships and ninth at the NCAA Championships. After qualifying for the NCAA Championships, Harms finished 56th out of 278 runners.

The ’Hawks also return junior Benjamin Maas and sophomores Ethan Kern and Jonah Nelson. Maas, Kern and Nelson finished in the top seven of the team for most of the meets last year.

Both squads hosted the Tom Hoffman Invitational on Sept. 17 where the men’s side took second place out of 12 teams in the eight kilometer meet.

“It was a really good start to the season,” Harms said. “We are not close to our peak shape yet, and we will face tougher teams later on, but it’s always good to get a race under our belts.”

Harms paced the team with a time of 26:39, which was good for third place.

Senior Scott Wolter rounded out the top ten with a time of 27:45. After finishing four seconds apart, sophomores Braeden Michael and Joshua Nelson posted times of 28:35 and 28:39 for 19th and 21st place respectively.

UW-W sophomore runner Grant Miller was the last runner to count for the team score with a 25th place finish.

Harms said he believes that the men’s team can make it to the NCAA Championships if everything breaks right.

“If we get back to health, and compete our best, I think we definitely have a shot,” Harms said.


After losing many of the scoring runners from last year’s team, the women’s squad will have a new look.

Juniors Monica Sweet, Maria Wiebke, Liz Mielke and Olivia Woyak scored in meets last year and are thrust into a bigger role due to the mass graduation.

“We lost our top three runners from last year which is tough,” Miller said. “Right now we are just focusing on getting better.”

The ’Hawks also began the team’s season with a 5th place finish out of 12 teams in the Tom Hoffman Invitational.

“It was the first meet, so it was good to see how some people were going to respond,” Miller said. “It was a probably one of the best home meets we have had in a while as far as the teams that were here.”

Mielke led the team with a 12th place finish in 25:00. Wiebke finished second on the team with a 29th place finish in 26:49.

Sophomore Manda Slabach was the next across the line in 30th place with a time of 27:00. Junior Emma Knudtson finished in 34th place, 11 seconds behind Slabach.

Rounding out the team’s scoring, junior Ashley Paulick ran the six kilometer race in 27:32 for a 42nd place finish.

Both teams head to the Brissman/Lundeen Invite on Sept. 23 in Rock Island, Illinois.

Both the men’s and women’s races will be split up into two different races because of the large amount of teams competing.