Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Down 10, still one

Chase Keller
Landen and Keegan Bratt race each other at the Warhawk Open on Friday, Oct. 20

The No. 4 UW-Whitewater Men’s Cross Country team won their second consecutive Warhawk Open on Friday, Oct. 20, their fourth meet win of the season. The team held out their top 10 runners as they prepare for the WIAC Championship on Oct. 28.

“This goes to show that people are running really well,” head coach Jeff Miller said. “It gives the people who didn’t run today a chance to see [their teammates] run.”

UW-Platteville’s Xavier Lasse finished first individually, but six Warhawks followed, putting together their third best team score of the season with 20. Sophomore Jonah Block finished second with a 26:59.4, his personal course record and two seconds shy of his overall personal record.

Keegan Bratt crosses the finish line in third place, being the final UW-Whitewater qualifier for the WIAC Championship (Chase Keller)

“This race feels amazing,” Block said. “It’s nice when the stakes and the pressure are high.”

Freshman Keegan Bratt finished third with a course personal record of 27:01.3, his third best career time. Freshman Nick Wendl (27:01.9) and sophomore Tommy Conklin (27:21.6) rounded out the top five.

With team chemistry being a top priority in the program, the runners not competing in this race ran from mile marker to mile marker, cheering on their teammates as they fought for a spot in the WIAC Championship.

“Over time, [chemistry] has developed in our team well,” Miller said. “It has helped build that relationship with each other, keeping everybody pushing forward and improving.”

By holding out their top 10 runners, the Warhawks’ top two finishers from this race join the WIAC Championship team along with the inactive 10. With four first place finishes and one second place finish this season, the momentum that the Warhawks bring is higher than ever.

Runners sprint down the front stretch after the starting gun is sounded. (Chase Keller)

“We’ve been one of the top two teams along with UW-La Crosse [all season],” runner Christian Patzka said. “We have the fastest and deepest squad we’ve ever had, probably in school history.”

The Warhawks enter the conference championship as the second highest ranked team in the WIAC, only behind No. 2 La Crosse. La Crosse is historically the best cross country team in the WIAC, having won 37 conference championships since 1961, along with five consecutive.

The 2023 championship meet is being held at Prescott High School in Prescott, Wisconsin. The Warhawks previously raced that track for the UWRF River Town Twilight, a race that La Crosse did not participate in.

“[Coach Miller] usually talks about matching up with their guys, and we want our one to beat their one,” Block said. “It’s a basketball analogy; just cover guys.”

The Warhawks have not won a WIAC cross country championship since 1965. Miller and company hope to change that this Saturday.

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About the Contributor
Chase Keller
Chase Keller, Assistant Women's Sports Editor

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