WINNECONNE, WI---The Bay College Norse wrapped up their first-ever cross country running season on Saturday by competing at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Invitational, held at the Lake Breeze Golf Club.
The Norse men finished 26th out of a group of mostly NCAA Division II and III schools, while the Bay College women finished 23rd.
"Everyone had theur best meet of the year," Bay College Coach Jim Murtha said. "They're not ready to be done yet. We had some runners who had never competed before (in cross country). They gave it a shot, stayed with it, and have kept improving. I'm very happy with how they ran, and how far they've come this season."
In the men's race, Gladstone native Nick LaRose was Bay's top runner, finishing 151st overall in 33 minutes, 34 seconds.
Bay's other runenrs were Steven Magnuson (159th, 36:00), Dominic Mancini (166th, 39:30), Giovanni Mancini (167th, 39:49), and Kevin Brazeau (168th, 41:01).
Augustana University (Ill.) won the men's race. Michigan Tech finished 17th.
In the women's race, Stephenson native Caitlyn Havelka was the Norse fastest runner, taking 117th place in 26 minutes, 19 seconds.
Bay's other runners were Zoie Berg (123rd, 26:34), Rhyan Murtha (149th, 28:41), Katy Combs (161st, 36:27), and Brittany Judson (162nd, 39:19).
Coach Murtha says it was fun watching his ten athletes compete on the big stage, against runners from schools much larger than Bay.
"This was a big deal, great atmosphere, and a great experience for our kids," Murtha said, "They know how far they've come. Our program started late, and it was a challenge to get five men and five women to start it. Everyone was nervous and not sure how things would go. But they stayed with it."
St. Norbert College won Saturday's women's race.
The Bay College cross country schedule this season included meets at the University of Minnesota, Lawrence (Wis.) University, UW-Oshkosh, plus one home meet. Now the Norse runners will be helping the basketball teams as they get going on November 1, as they will be running the concession stand at home games for a fundraiser.
"We'll be around," Murtha said. "Our kids will be involved (on campus), and this sets the tone for recruiting for next year."
Jack Hall - RRN Sports