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Mitchell wins second WIAC cross country championship

Ayla Mitchell also received the scholar-athlete award for the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in women's cross country.1 / 2
McKenzie Kelly was the second UW-Oshkosh runner to finish the WIAC women's cross country championship race on Saturday.2 / 2

Ayla Mitchell won the individual title for the second time in three years as the UW-Oshkosh women's cross country team finished third at the WIAC Championship held Saturday in Whitewater.

Mitchell, a senior from New Richmond, ran away from this year's group of participants. She coasted to the finish line with a 6,000-meter time of 22:00. She also finished first at the meet in 2007 and second in 2008.

With her latest victory, Mitchell becomes the fifth UW-Oshkosh runner to claim multiple WIAC titles. She joins three-time champion Tiffany (Speckman) Ebensperger (1994, 1996-97) and two-time winners Laura Horejs (1990-91), Cheryl Niederberger (1987-88) and Liz Woodworth (2003-04).

The conference named Mitchell as the winner of its Judy Kruckman Scholar-Athlete Award for 2009.

Mitchell is majoring in elementary education with a minor in science and carries a 3.90 grade point average. She was named to the 2009 CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Women's Cross Country/Track and Field Third Team and is a two-time member of the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic Team. Mitchell has been recognized on UW-Oshkosh's Dean's List numerous semesters and the WIAC Scholastic Honor Roll twice since transferring from the University of Minnesota after her freshman year.

Mitchell wasn't the only New Richmond product to make a big impact for the Titans in this meet. Freshman McKenzie Kelly was Oshkosh's second finisher in the meet. Kelly placed 11th overall in 23:20.

UW-Eau Claire scored 29 points to capture its third straight WIAC title and fifth overall. UW-La Crosse finished second in the eight-team meet with 57 points, UW-Oshkosh third with 71, UW-Stevens Point fourth with 111, UW-Platteville fifth with 151, UW-Whitewater sixth with 161, UW-River Falls seventh with 201 and UW-Stout eighth with 213. UW-Eau Claire entered the meet ranked fourth in the NCAA Division III by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, UW-La Crosse 12th and UW-Oshkosh 14th.

St. Croix Central grad Mark Sanders ran for the UW-Eau Claire men in the WIAC meet on Saturday. Sanders placed 48th among the men with a time of 27:02.

UW-Oshkosh returns to action on Nov. 14 when it hosts the NCAA Division III Midwest Regional at the Lake Breeze Golf Club in Winneconne. The NCAA Division III Championship is scheduled for Nov. 21 in Highland Hills, Ohio.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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