Cross-country runs riot at home invite

Fassbender and Braun take first place for Warhawks; win team competition


Dane Sheehan

Junior Jessie Braun finishes her race Saturday, Sept. 10 at the Fifth Annual Tom Hoffman Invitational. Braun ran an official time of 24:17.8.

Ross Guyette, Assistant Sports Editor

The Fifth Annual Tom Hoffman Invitational commenced Saturday with seven competitors from across the state of Wisconsin showing up ready to race. Both men’s and women’s cross-country teams competed, with the women’s race starting at 10 a.m. and the men’s at 10:45 a.m. Whitewater’s David Fassbender and Jessie Braun both took first in their respective races.

“We were really focused on going in attacking the race,’’ said senior Clair Gorham, who finished with a time of 29:40. “Having a strong team performance means making sure we have a pack and sticking together. We really wanted to stick together.”

Whitewater’s teams had high expectations heading into Saturday’s race as both men’s and women’s teams had come in first place with Fassbender and Braun leading their respective competitions at the invitational in 2018.

“Focusing on getting our miles in and staying healthy and having a positive attitude and ready to take on opportunity was what we wanted our girls to strive for,” said Gorham.

Success is consistent throughout the tenure of Jeff Miller, Whitewater’s men and women cross country head coach for more than 35 years. Throughout Millers’ history as coach, All-Americans have come and gone, but none are quite like junior David Fassbender.

“This year means a lot of hard work and determination in our guys, we are all leaders for each other,” said Fassbender.” It really gets us motivated when we start a race. We wanted to take advantage on our home turf, get motivated and keep our heads on right.”

Fassbender held true to his word as he finished in first place again this year at the invite with a time of 26:03.

“Our goal is to make it to nationals. We want to get in the top five this year,” he said. ”It is going to be an absolutely fun ride this year, we have a lot of good guys coming in.” Also finishing in first place once again is Junior Jessie Braun with a time of 24:17.

From the surface, the Warhawks appear to be on the fast track to another good season. With Warhawk Cross Country only into their second meet of the season, there will be ample opportunity for Warhawks to   earn their wings.