Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

December 9, 2023

Men's XC zone-in on Oshkosh

Ranked 24th in the country, men’s cross country is preparing for the nationwide Oshkosh Invitational meet held at the University of Wisconsin, competing with teams from all across the country and the top five teams in the nation.
Coming back from a team win at the Olivet Nazarene Invitational last week, the Vikings are hoping to carry the momentum  into this invitational.
Head coach Paul Olsen was proud of the win and using the win as a major boost into the future.
“We’re using (the Nazarene Invitational win) as another big step in confidence,” Olsen said.
Senior and captain Dan Popek thinks the Vikings can upset the national rankings from this meet.
“I’m very excited for it,” said Popek. “We have a lot of people, and we have teams who are ahead of us (in rank).”
The UW-Oshkosh AAE Invitational will be hosted in Oshkosh, Wisconsin on at the Lake Breeze Golf Club and will be 8,000 meters long, which is also 5 miles.
Last year, the team finished in 16th place out of the 45 teams that ran that day.
This year there will be 48 teams, just under the 50 teams that the team faced at the Brissman- Lundeen Invitational two weeks ago.
Although the team has six freshmen who have never ran in this meet before, Olsen is excited about the freshman potential for this meet.
“(The freshman) are terrific, much better than we ever thought,” Olsen said.“They’re all showing great promise, great work ethic, great attitudes, and I am very excited about the freshman class.”
The freshmen runners have also gained confidence, believing they will continue to improve despite the large amount of competition.
While freshman Bryson Reyes has never competed at this meet, he knows the team has built up right amount of confidence to perform well.
“I think we will do good,” said Reyes. “We’ve been performing well at all the meets prior to this one. Most likely nothing will change.”
While conference is only two weeks after the Oshkosh meet, the Vikings are staying focused on the task at hand.
“We are not worrying about any other meet because Oshkosh is what’s important,” Popek said. “We’re not always looking ahead; we’re looking at where we are right now.”
The men will leave Friday to practice the course the night before the meet.
The race for the Vikings to upset the national rankings will begin at 11:15 a.m.

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Men's XC zone-in on Oshkosh