Pioneer Men's Cross Country Wins Warhawk Invitational for Fourth-Straight Year; Women Finish Third

Pioneer Men's Cross Country Wins Warhawk Invitational for Fourth-Straight Year; Women Finish Third

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville men's cross country team won the Warhawk Invitational hosted by UW-Whitewater with seven runners in the top 22 in their first meet of the 2012 season. The Pioneer women placed fourth overall and third among Division III teams.

The victory by the men marks the fourth-consecutive year that the Pioneers have brought home the team title from the season-opening meet in Whitewater, Wisconsin. To win the team title, the Pioneers edged WIAC rival, UW-Oshkosh by one point, 45-46 as the Pioneers fourth and fifth runners proved to be the difference.

The men, who were ranked No. 9 in the first USTFCCCA Midwest Regional rankings, earlier in the week were led by freshman Ian LaMere (photo by Donna Smaga), who covered the 8k course in 26:32 en route to a fourth-place overall finish. John Dewitt of UW-Oshkosh won the race in convincing fashion in a time of 26:06 to lead the 129-person field.

To put the performance by LaMere in perspective, it is one of the fastest debut performances in school history. Tyler Sigl, who also finished fourth in his first Pioneer debut at the Warhawk Invitational, crossed the line in a time of 26:27. Sigl ended his freshman season with a 14th-place finish at the NCAA Championships.

LaMere was joined in the top 10 by Pioneer teammates senior Derek Fahrenkrug (seventh, 26:49) and sophomore Matt Kocak (eighth, 26:50). Just behind Kocak, six seconds later, was sophomore teammate Joel Walden, who crossed the line in 26:56. Next for the Pioneers was sophomore Matt Smaga, who finished 15th in a time of 27:26 and senior Matt Borneman, who was 22nd in a time of 27:47.

Other UW-Platteville finishers were Chris Czech (27th, 27:54), Jacob James (34th, 28:10), Harrison Miles (38th, 28:23), Jason Henkins (40th, 28:29), Michael Peterson (46th, 28:51), Nick Wagner (49th, 28:56), Evan Morgan (52nd, 29:03), Matt Wubben (54th, 29:06), Joseph Gehrmann (62nd, 29:20), Drake Rooney (83rd, 30:34), Kyle Klein (87th, 30:44), Garret Wernecke (88th, 30:48), Frank Huftalin (100th, 31:35) and Jake Czyz (113th, 33:46).

On the women's side, UW-Platteville was led by a pair of freshman - Kiera Depies and Teagan Seneczko. Depies was the first Pioner across the line in 25th with a time of 25:12 for the 6k race. 21 seconds behind her was Senezco, who crossed the line in 25:33 and in 28th place.

Christy Cazzola of UW-Oshkosh was the individual winner in a time of 22:13 for a 14-second victory over her closest competitor. Division I member Wisconsin won the team title and the Titans of UW-Oshkosh were the top finishing NCAA Division III team in the 10-team field.

For the Pioneers behind Depies and Seneczko was junior Olivia Bukowski, who was 32nd in a time of 26:03 and freshman Connie Spyropoulos, who was 33rd in a time of 26:24. Junior Megan Knutson was 36th (26:35), sophomore Lisa Kaiser was 43rd (27:30) and freshman Andria Knutson was 47th (27:52) to round out the top seven for the UW-Platteville.

Other finishers for the Pioneers were Allison Wells (80th, 28:00), Ashlynne Wampfler (90th, 28:50), Jessa Pierce (105th, 30:05) and Jessica Heitsman (118th, 32:23).

Next on the schedule for the Pioneers is the Blugold Invite at Whitetail Golf Course in Colfax, Wisconsin, hosted by UW-Eau Claire. The women will run at 4 p.m. and the men will follow at 5 p.m.