NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships - MenÂ


Wisconsin-LaCrosse Upsets Two-Time Defending Champion Calvin at NCAA Division III Men's Cross Country Championships

DELAWARE, Ohio -- Wisconsin-LaCrosse placed two runners among the top 10 team scorers and five in the top 30 team scorers to defeat defending champion Calvin by a score of 94-117 at the NCAA Division III Women's Cross Country championships on Saturday, hosted by Ohio Wesleyan University at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio and Dornoch Golf Club.

Wisconsin-LaCrosse placed third at last year's NCAA Division III championships meet, and for a while it looked like the Eagles were on their way to a repeat of that performance, or perhaps a jump to second place in the team standings.

"We were getting beat with 1000 meters to go," said UW-L head coach Don Fritsch. "I've never seen a team close like this team did today. All of our runners moved up in the last 1000 meters, but our 3-4-5 guys really saved the day us. They had a phenomenal finish."

Boomer Creger led the Eagles with a 15th-place finish, followed by Nate Hoffman in 17th place. The Eagles' 3-4-5 finishers were Kevin Oelstrom, who placed 36th; John Heitzman, who was 46th; and Scott Mueller, who finished 49th.

"I thought that (Creger's) destiny was to lead us to a national title," Fritsch said. "To see that come true was heartwarming."

The national championship was the third for Wisconsin-LaCrosse, following team titles in 1996 and 2001.

"Someone asked me what the difference between this and our title in 2001," Fritsch said. "With 1000 meters to go in 2001, I knew we had it won. Today, I thought we had it lost. It's hard to put into words the effort they put in over a brutally tough course. The last 450 meters was all uphill, and to run people down the way they did took a supreme effort."

Calvin, which had won the last two NCAA Division III team championships, was led by Tim Finnegan, who finished third overall. Jed Christiansen and Harrison Jorritsma followed in 34th and 35th place respectively, with Jon Gries finishing 55th and Bill Reynolds 73rd. The Knights may have to be considered the favorite in 2006, though, as none of the seven runners who competed for Calvin on Saturday was a senior.

Haverford finished in third place with 118 points, a single marker behind Calvin, and Nebraska Wesleyan was fourth with 132 points.

Individual honors went to Neal Holtschulte of Williams, who won the race by a margin of nearly 13 seconds over runner-up Macharia Yuot of Widener. Finnegan of Calvin was third, Tyler Sigl of Wisconsin-Platteville was fourth and Dana Irrer of Carnegie-Mellon finished fifth.

Holtschulte relied on a late charge to take the individual championship. "Williams trains on a lot of hills, so we really liked (the course)," he said. "(Yuot) made the first surge, and I went out with him, then the very last hill was where I passed him."

The race was run over a soft, hilly course in sunny, 50-degree weather that featured a steady breeze.

-- Courtesy Ohio Wesleyan