The UW–Stout Women’s Cross Country team attended the WIAC Conference Championships on Oct. 29. The team placed fourth overall, which is the second best UW–Stout has ever placed there. Courtney Shaffer (Jr, Augusta, Wis.) led the pack, placing 16th overall.
The team will be traveling to the Lake Breeze Golf Course on November 12 for the Division III Regional Meet. In preparation for the meet, there are a few goals and expectations that Shaffer and her teammates have worked out and are now preparing for.
“Placing in the top five as a team would be awesome, since last year we placed sixth as a team at the regional meet. Personally, I would like to be All-Region and place in the top 35.”
Head Coach Matt Schauf and the team came into this season hoping to compete with some of the best in the WIAC. He thinks their performance at the conference meet is getting very close to the point they want to be at.
“The goal coming in was still top four, but there’s a gap from them to us. Ideally, we want to be more intermixing with those teams. The top team in the conference [UW–La Crosse] is an elite team in the nation, the next two teams [UW–Oshkosh and UW–Eau Claire] are pretty strong programs and pretty solid teams. If they run well, they can get into the national meet. We’re a step behind them, and ideally we want to be amongst them”.
The UW–Stout team still has time to improve. This season’s team is a very young one with a bright future ahead of them. They only had one senior run at this meet, so a large majority of the existing roster will be back next year, and Schauf believes that this will require a little more from his athletes mentally.
“The hope moving forward then would be to move into that next tier of teams. I think the biggest challenge for us right now is finding the willingness to look beyond what we normally do and know about what we are and demand and expect more of ourselves” said Schauf.
The future is very bright for the women’s cross country team. Hopefully the team will continue to run hard and achieve the goals they set for themselves as the gun goes off next Saturday.