With a few meets under their belt the men’s and women’s cross country teams look to funnel their hard work into the end of the season.
“We’re making progress but we’ve still got some work to do,” said associate head coach Brett Witt.
The University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point cross country team is preparing for the bigger races coming in the next few weeks, marking the end of the season.
“The way that the Witts coach, we’re not going to be the best team at the beginning of the year. We’re going to be the best team at the end. Basically you come into the season prepared to work for three-fourths of it training for the big races,” sophomore Dane Tyler said.
The women run a 6k at their meets, and the men run an 8k.
“After the first few meets we’ve improved on some things, but we have other things to work on,” Witt said.
Senior Lauren Dilley can pinpoint one particular meet where the number results were not quite where the team wanted them.
“Augustana was a hot one, and we didn’t do as well as we hoped,” Dilley said. “But everyone pulled through, and it only makes us stronger.”
On Oct. 18 the Pointers head to the Oshkosh AAE invite where they will be put to the test.
“The level of competition at Oshkosh is as good or better than what you would see at the national championships,” Witt said. “It’s a crazy good meet, and we’ll use it as a final tune up for the conference championships.”
Oshkosh is among a few tough teams the Pointers face. UW-Eau Claire, North Central, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Platteville, and the University of Chicago are also strong competition.
The conference meet is Nov. 1. Last year the women’s team finished second, and the men’s team finished sixth.
This year the team has goals set for the conference meet and the season as a whole.
“We want a top three conference finish, our top five guys within 20 seconds of each other, to qualify for nationals, and to stay focused on running,” Tyler said.
The women’s team have similar goals, and Dilley has confidence in both teams.
“I hope to make it to nationals,” Dilley said. “I think both the guys and girls can make it this year.”
The top two teams at the regional meet are guaranteed a spot at nationals. From there a committee selects what other teams will go based on times.
“Usually five or six teams from our conference go,” Tyler said.
Dilley has noticed a certain energy surrounding both teams this year.
“There’s willpower of wanting to make it to nationals and place at conference,” Dilley said. “There’s also a love of running and practicing together.”
Tyler agrees and likes what he sees during the practices and meets.
“Definitely see both teams training as a single unit, and the guys have a nice front group that stay together in the same pace,” Tyler said.
Tyler also has an individual goal in mind looking at the rest of the season.
“I want to run around a 25:30-25:40 by the end of the season,” Tyler said. “I’m trying to be all-conference or all-region.”
Dilley’s biggest goal is to help the team out as much as possible.
“I am going to strive to get better and stronger,” Dilley said. “I need to work on speed. I have endurance but the speed isn’t always there.”
Witt agrees with the goal conference finish and wants to see as many runners possible on the all-conference team.
“Getting runners on that time coincides with where we want to be at conference,” Witt said. “I would also like to see us in contention to be a team to be selected to compete at the national championships.”
Dilley hopes if there is a national appearance this year the team will do better than how they are ranked.
“I just want us to do our best and finish the season strong,” Dilley said.