Reilly, Panthers Off To Promising Start
Sept. 29, 2011
MILWAUKEE - The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's cross country team isn't quite to the midway point of their season, but it is already having quite a bit of success.
Two weeks ago, the Panthers cruised to a first-place finish at the Falcon Invitational hosted by Concordia University, scoring an impressive 25 points on the day and downing the next-closest Division I team by 125 points.
"I think we really have the right combination of guys on the team this year to make it work," junior Jake Reilly said. "We have a good combination of guys who have been around for a while in Thomas (Wells), Bobby (Glotfelty), Ryan (Baumgartner) and me, and we have some really strong freshmen as well.
"I'm really excited. This is going to be fun. This is probably the best team we've had in a while."
A big reason for that success is the performances put in by Reilly. The Waunakee native not only led Milwaukee in its past two races, but he also trumped the whole field by taking first overall in both events.
At the Midwest Collegiate Invitational on Sept. 10, Reilly became the first Milwaukee men's runner to take first overall at a race since September of 2006.
Then, one week later, he defended his crown by taking first at the Falcon Invite, shaving nearly a full minute off his time at the same course from last season.
"That's a huge improvement for Jake, but, to me, it's a tribute to him consistently doing his summer running," Milwaukee head coach Pete Corfeld said. "He said he put in the work this summer because he wants results and here we have one. To me, this is a tribute to his hard work and it's paying off right away.
"Besides just shaving a minute off his time from last year, Jake really handled the race well. It didn't affect him much afterward and that's because of his training."
Reilly echoed those same sentiments.
"Freshman and sophomore year, I was just kind of getting used to college running," he said. "Now, after two years of being in the business, I learned that you have to put in the summer training so I was (running) 75-80 miles in the summer. It was a lot of work but it's starting to pay off."
That sacrifice has led to some impressive results for Reilly and those results earned him Horizon League Runner of the Week honors on Sept. 19.
That was the first time a Milwaukee men's cross country runner earned that award in just over two years.
"I didn't expect (to win the award) at all. It didn't even cross my mind," Really said. "My mom actually called me and congratulated me and I didn't know what for and she told me and I was like, `sweet.'
"It was a really sweet surprise that the Horizon League would recognize me and it's a great accomplishment. It's exciting because I know not a lot of guys have had it, so it was nice to have some early-season success and get my name out there and UWM's name out there and maybe people will start fearing us a little bit more."
As the Panthers start to get into the thick of their schedule starting Friday, opponents shouldn't fear just Reilly though.
Senior Thomas Wells finished first for UWM and fifth overall at the first race of the season. Wells also finished second overall, just 12 seconds behind Reilly, at the Falcon Invite two weeks ago.
"We try to race together and that's part of our success," Reilly said. "When you're running by yourself in the middle of a cross country course and you're around 3k-4k, you're dying; I don't care who you are, you're getting tired. And if no one's there around you, you start to pull up.
"But if your buddy's sitting right there on your butt telling you `let's go, let's go,' you're going to kick it into gear."
Milwaukee's pack of runners travels to South Bend, Ind. to take part in the Notre Dame Invitational on Friday.