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Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s title run draws fanfare

2015 Division III Men’s Cross Country

Ian LaMere of Wisconsin-Platteville won the national title with a 23:35.4 time. JEANNETTE MERTEN / NCAA PHOTOS

The Results

TEAM SCORES

1st: Wisconsin-Eau Claire, 135

2nd: Williams, 144

3rd: Geneseo State, 209

INDIVIDUAL SCORES

1st: Ian LaMere, Wis.-Platteville, 23:35.4

2nd: Josh Thorson, Wis.-Eau Claire, 24:15.0

3rd: Bijan Mazaheri, Williams, 24:21.4

ELITE 90 HONOREE

Jordan Carpenter, Wis.-Oshkosh

In November, numerous University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire fans made a three-hour drive, braved subfreezing temperatures and lined a championship course. With a national title at stake for their Blugolds, they wanted to lend a hand – or at least some full-throated cheers.

“We really have a great support network,” said Dan Schwamberger, coach of the Wisconsin-Eau Claire men’s cross country team. “There were alums from the 1970s out there. It felt like a home meet because we had so many people there.”

The Blugolds didn’t disappoint their supporters who made the trek, winning the program’s first Division III championship Nov. 21 in Winneconne, Wisconsin. Wisconsin-Eau Claire finished with 135 points, nine better than second-place Williams College.

The Blugolds returned their top five runners from a squad that finished seventh in last year’s NCAA meet. Improvement was the stated 2015 goal; winning a national title ranked as the ultimate goal if, as Schwamberger put it, “things went well.”

On championship day, the Blugolds’ Josh Thorson stayed near the front of the pack and finished second behind the University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s Ian LaMere. Ryan Mugan and Darin Lau came in ninth and 12th, respectively, to bolster Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s team finish.

“Awesome guys,” Schwamberger said about his runners. “The team dynamic is what I’m most proud of.”