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UWEC seniors disappointed, but understand WIAC’s decision

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Dan Schwamberger
Liz Galloway was picked to serve as captain for the UW-Eau Claire women's cross country team this fall.

Eau Claire (WQOW) - Liz Galloway started processing what an early end to her athletic career might mean in June.

"I went in spurts," she said. "'Today I want to make it work and stay for another semester,' then other days I was like 'no, I'm ready to move on.'"

Galloway, a senior on the Blugolds women's cross country team, was going to serve as captain this fall.

Then she saw a tweet that said the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference had canceled the cross country seasons and championships.

"It sucks," she said.

There are eligibility waivers available for student-athletes if their team completes 50 percent or less of the competition season due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, but seniors have a choice to make: extend their academic careers to compete in athletics, or graduate and move on to their professional careers.

Galloway has decided to graduate on time next spring with a degree in nursing. It was a decision she has struggled with on a daily basis.

"When the news came out, I was like, 'I don't know what to do. This is overwhelming. This is an adult decision I'm not ready for this,'" she said.

Galloway said many of her fellow seniors feel the same way and want to finish their careers together. They hope to do so through practice opportunities allowed by the NCAA.

"I definitely need to see them all again," she said.

Last week's announcement didn't shock Isaac Prefontaine, but it certainly left him disappointed.

"It's obviously been a big bummer, especially after how our spring season ended," the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire senior said.

Prefontaine, the captain of the men's team, said he realized the chances of a season were not as realistic once the NCAA required coronavirus testing.

UW-Eau Claire is working with local heath officials and the NCAA to utilize practice days. Prefontaine said golf practice may start two weeks after the fall semester begins.

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Nick Tabbert

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