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State Cross Country Championships Preview

Friday, November 1, 2019

State Cross Country Championships Preview

THE MEET:  The 107th running of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Boys Cross Country Championships and the 46th Annual Girls Cross Country Championships will take place Saturday, Nov. 2, at The Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. Ticket price for the meet is $8.

RACE INFORMATION:  The boys and girls will both run a 5,000-meter course. The following is a listing of the scheduled start times for each race:

Girls              
Noon - Division 2      
12:40 p.m. - Division 1
1:20 p.m. - Division 3

Boys
1:45 p.m. - Division 2
2:35 p.m. - Division 1
3:10 p.m. - Division 3

HOW THEY GOT HERE:  There are 20 teams contending for the State championship in Division 1 for boys and girls, and 16 teams competing for the boys and girls Divisions 2 and 3 team titles. Teams competing for the titles qualified last weekend at their respective sectional meets. The top two teams in each of the 10 Division 1 sectionals and the top two teams from each of the eight Divisions 2 and 3 sectionals advanced. In addition to the qualifying teams, the first five individual finishers at their respective sectionals, who are not a member of a qualifying team, also qualified for the State meet.

LAST YEAR-GIRLS:  Muskego won the Division 1 State girls team title after placing runner-up in 2017. The Warriors scored a five-runner total of 48. Sun Prairie finished second with a score of 103 after running to back-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017. Genevieve Nashold of Madison West was the individual champion. She covered the 5-kilometer course in 18:10.0. Medford ran to the team title in Division 2 with a score of 106, and 2017 champion Freedom finished second, 19 points back with a score of 115. Leah Kralovetz of Denmark captured the crown as the individual champion with a time of 17:46.7. Lancaster claimed the Division 3 team championship with a score of 74 after finishing runner-up in 2017. Auburndale was second with a score of 91. Marissa Ellenbecker of Edgar won her second straight championship, racing to the individual title with a time of 19:06.4.

LAST YEAR-BOYS:  Neenah won the team championship in Division 1 last season, finishing with a score of 122. Former defending champion Middleton was second at 131. Drew Bosley of Homestead won individual honors for the second straight year by covering the 5,000-meter course in 15:20.1. Valders won the Division 2 crown for the second consecutive season,  retaining the title with a score of 98. Notre Dame was second with 114 points. Henry Chapman of East Troy ran to the individual championship in Division 2 with a time of 15:59.3. Aquinas was the State team champion in  Division 3 with a score of 90, which was 21 points ahead of runner-up Rosholt with 111 points. David Vannucchi of Luther won his third consecutive  individual crown, finishing with a time of 15:43.9.

GIRLS TEAM NOTES:  It’s a crowded field of challengers back from last season as 13 of the 20 teams that competed last season are back in the field, including the top five. Muskego appears in position to repeat as team champion in the division with six runners returning off last year’s title team. Sun Prairie, which placed runner-up a year ago after winning back-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017, has qualified with four returning runners. Onalaska has five runners returning to the field after they finished third last year, and both Madison West and Waukesha West have qualified with three runners that contributed to their fourth- and fifth-place finishes in the team standings, respectively. Janesville Craig placed eighth in 2018, and they return to compete for the team title with four returning runners. Arrowhead placed ninth last year with two of those contributing runners back in the race this season. Brookfield Central may be one of the teams that finished outside of the top 10 last year that may be in a position to challenge for the title with six returning participants, which ties Muskego for the most returning runners in the division. The Division 2 field features six of the teams finishing in the top 10 last year, including defending champion Medford. The Raiders return four runners from last year’s squad that ran to the title. Freedom was runner-up last year after winning back-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017. The Irish return four participants that ran at State last season. Shorewood returns four runners from the team that placed fifth a year ago, and Winneconne has five returning from its sixth-place team last season. Jefferson finished seventh last year and has qualified this year with four runners returning this season. Wisconsin Dells and Lake Mills have the distinction of having the most runners back from last year’s meet with six after placing ninth and 11th in the team standings, respectively. In Division 3, three of the top five teams in last year’s results are back for another run at the title, including defending champion Lancaster. The  Flying Arrows attempt to retain the team title with four participants returning to the meet that contributed to winning the crown last season. Last year’s runner-up Auburndale, should again contend for the title with six racers from last season returning to the field. Oostburg was fifth a year ago with three runners back from that team.

GIRLS INDIVIDUAL NOTES:  The race for individual championship in Division 1 should be entertaining as each of the top seven finishers from a year ago are back to contend for the title. Sophomore Genevieve Nashold of Madison West won the championship last season in her first State meet, and junior Kate  Sperka of Muskego looks to challenge her for the top spot after a runner-up finish the past two seasons. Junior Brooke Edwardson of Kimberly placed third last season after finishing 15th in 2017, and sophomore Roisin Willis of Stevens Point finished fourth last year. Junior Kora Malecek of Onalaska is also a leading contender for the crown based on past experience. She came in fifth last season after an 11th-place finish in 2017. Rounding out the top seven finishers last year returning to the meet this year are sophomore Riley Collett of Fond du Lac, who was sixth, and junior Kate Kopotic of Sun Prairie, who was seventh. Another individual that looks to return to the top 10 is junior Anna Fauske of Kaukauna, who ran to an eighth-place finish in 2017 but dropped to 97th last year. Other potential challengers based on their State experience and sectional titles last week are junior Leane Willemse of Homestead, who was 17th last season;  junior Julia Neustedter Brookfield Central, who placed 23rd last year; senior Caroline Durham of Brookfield Central, who was 72nd in 2018; sophomore Lauren Pansegrau of Middleton, who was 31st last year; and freshman Myra Stray of Waukesha West.  In Division 2, a number of returning runners should be in the hunt for the individual crown, including five that placed in the top eight a year ago. Sophomore Kayci Martensen of Southwestern/Benton/Cuba City is the top returning runner in the field this season after placing third last year. Sophomore Anna Gallagher of Two Rivers is back after finishing fifth last season, and senior Ashley Peterson of Lakeland returns following her sixth-place standing in the meet last year. Senior Annie Higgins of Xavier is back for a final shot at a title after placing seventh last year, third in 2017 and fourth in 2016. The scenario is the same for senior  Laura Beghin of Wisconsin Dells, who looks to contend for the title after finishing eighth last year and runner-up in both 2016 and 2017. Other contenders that could possibly challenge for the individual championship based on their sectional championships and former State experience are senior Katelyn Kitzinger of Marinette, who was ninth in 2017; junior Molly Desotell of Notre Dame, who placed 14th last season and 12th in 2017; junior Jordan Koepke of Martin Luther, who placed 10th in 2017 and 46th last season; junior Elle Erato of Catholic Memorial; sophomore Bella Lozier of Shorewood, who was 12th last season and freshmen Joey Perry of Winneconne and Rachel Ulrich of Osceola. Six of the top 10  and 12 of the top 20 individual finishers from last year’s meet return for another run at the title in Division 3. Among them is senior Marissa Ellenbecker of Edgar, who returns to the State meet after running to the State title the last two seasons. She also ran to a third-place finish her freshman season in 2016. Sophomore Madison Sand of Durand should again challenge for the individual championship this season after placing third last year. The same is true for junior Helen Carstens of North Crawford, who placed sixth last season and 12th in 2017. Sophomore Anelise Egge of Kickapoo/LaFarge  returns after finishing eighth last year, and junior Kara Troxel of Bonduel will likely be among the leaders after coming in ninth last season and fifth in 2017. Senior Hannah Constable of Johnson Creek is also back in the field following her 10th-place finish last year. Junior Sylvia Hansen of Gillett attempts to return to title contention after racing to a third-place finish in 2017.  She slipped to 27th last year.  Others who could be in contention for the title based on their sectional titles last week are senior Christi Forman of Waterloo, who finished 23rd in 2018; junior Savannah Schley of Loyal/Greenwood, who placed 15th last season; sophomore Abby Bartel of Weyauwega-Fremont, who placed 11th a year ago; sophomore Brooklyn Luebke of Manitowoc Lutheran; and freshmen  Molly Heidorn of Colfax, Claudia Lasiowski of Chequamegon and Samantha Herrling of Wisconsin Heights/Barneveld.

BOYS TEAM NOTES:   This year’s Division 1 field contains teams that comprise 12 of last year’s top 20, including seven of the top 10. Last season’s runner-up Middleton returns to the State meet with four runners that ran in last year’s event. Germantown also has four runners back from its third-place finish a year ago. Madison West returns to the field with just two competitors that raced in the State meet last season, and Stevens Point has four runners back from its fifth-place showing last year. Oconomowoc looks to contend for the team title tied for the most runners returning from a top-10 finish last season. The Raccoons have five competitors returning off last year’s sixth-place team. Green Bay Preble also returns five runners from its team that placed 10th in 2018. Hamilton was seventh in standings last year and has two participants returning to this year’s championships. Brookfield East has the distinction of having the most returning runners back from last season in the division with six for a squad that placed 13th. Five of the teams placing in the top 10 in Division 2 last season have qualified this season, and 11 of the 16 teams return to the title chase from a year ago. Two-time defending champion Valders attempts to retain its position at the top of the division with five returning runners that raced to the title last season. However, Notre Dame appears to be a formidable challenger with six runners back off the squad that finished runner-up in 2018. Freedom, who placed 11th last season, also has six runners returning to the meet. Wisconsin Lutheran placed fourth last year and has three individuals back from that team, and Jefferson returns four runners from the team that came in sixth a year ago. Shorewood was seventh last year, but the Greyhounds return just two runners that experienced last year’s meet. La Crosse Logan has four runners returning from the crew that placed eighth last year. Four of the top 10 teams in Division 3 last season have qualified this season, including defending champion Aquinas. The Blugolds will attempt to retain the title with four participants that helped them to the top of the podium last year.  Brillion and Boscobel appear to be the teams that could dethrone the champions based on their returning experience. Brillion finished third last year, and the Lions have five runners back from that team, including two that placed in the top 14. Boscobel placed 10th in 2018 and have all of the seven participants from that squad returning this year. Kohler has five runners back from last year’s team that placed seventh, and McDonell Catholic has four runners returning from an eighth-place finish.

BOYS INDIVIDUALNOTES:  The competition for the individual championship in Division 1 appears open following the graduation of two-time champion Drew Bosley. Senior Ben Schnoor of Germantown is the top returning finisher from last season. He placed fifth after a sixth-place finish in 2017. Senior Alexander Vance of Oconomowoc is back after placing eighth last season, and senior Nicholas Holmes of Nicolet also returns following a ninth-place standing a year ago. Junior Bryan Bloomquist of Janesville Craig should also be considered a contender for the title with a 10th-place finish last year following a 17th-place finish two years ago. Other possible contenders based on the sectional titles earned last week are senior Erik Kain of Muskego, who placed 23rd last year; senior Gavin Kuhlenbeck of Hamilton, who placed 14th last year; senior John Roth of DeForest; senior Mason Shea of River Falls, who finished 45th in 2018; senior Jake Krause of Hortonville, who was 63rd last year;  junior Nolan Richey of Kimberly; junior Cael Grotenhuis of Slinger, who was 47th last season; and junior Joshua Truchon of West Allis Hale, who was 21st a year ago. In Division 2, senior Lucas Florsheim of Shorewood is the top returning individual and one of only two returning finishers that placed within the top 10 last year. He finished eighth after placing 61st in 2017. Senior Zach Slevin of La Crosse Logan returns after finishing right behind Florsheim in ninth place last year. Junior Charlie McKinney of West Salem has qualified for the third straight season looking to improve on a 28th-place finish last year after coming in eighth in 2017. Other qualifiers in the division that may contend following last week’s wins at their respective sectionals include senior Xavier Lasee of North Fond du Lac/Oakfield; junior Leo Richardson of Edgewood; junior Jakob Engen of St. Croix Central, who was 60th last year; junior Jack Reiter of Freedom, who placed 46th last season; sophomore Shane Griepentrog of Valders, who was 23rd last year; and sophomore Zach Huffman of Deerfield/Cambridge. In Division 3, three-time champion David Vannucchi’s graduation means there will be a different champion. Among last year’s competitors, only two return from the top 10, although senior Christian Patzka of Wisconsin Heights/Barneveld moves down from Division 2, where he finished fifth last season. Junior Hunter Krepline of Brillion is the top returning Division 3 finisher from a year ago. He placed ninth after finishing 19th in 2017. Senior Garrett Dolan of Assumption is back after placing 10th in 2018 and 38th in 2017. Senior Gunner Schlender of Brillion, who was 14th last year, has his sights on a fourth finish within the top 14 with an 11th-place finish in 2017 and a 13th-place standing in 2016; Other possible challengers for the individual crown after their title performances at sectionals last week are senior Matthew Marcinske of Birchwood, who finished 11th last season; junior Andrew Skemp of Aquinas, who placed 87th last year; junior Josh Woller of Oconto, who was 26th in 2018; sophomore Dan Anderson of McDonell Catholic; and sophomore Nathaniel Osborne of Brookfield Academy, who was 18th a year ago.

NEED THE QUALIFIERS?:  All rosters and qualifiers are available on the boys and girls cross country Tournament Information pages on the WIAA website.

NEED RESULTS?:  The most efficient way to get results will be to access the WIAA website at: www.wiaawi.org and choose the cross country home page. In addition, PT Timing will be providing live updates from the course during the races. To access the updates, go to:  www.pttiming.com/events/87931611.

FOLLOW STATE MEET ON SOCIAL MEDIA:  Receive updates of the State Cross Country Championships on the WIAA State Tournament Twitter account @wiaawistate with the hashtag #wiaaxc. Also like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram at wiaawi, and add us on Snapchat at wiaawis.

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