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State Boys & Girls Cross Country Championships Preview

Monday, October 24, 2022

State Boys & Girls Cross Country Championships Preview

THE STATE MEET:  The 110th running of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Boys Cross Country Championships and the 49th Annual Girls Cross Country Championships will take place Saturday, Oct. 29, at The Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.

ADMISSIONTICKETS: The WIAA uses GoFan Ticketing for all digital and cashless tickets. Admission is $9 plus online fees for adults and students. All tickets must be redeemed on a mobile device. To purchase tickets, visit the WIAA website at: https://gofan.co/app/school/WIAAWI?activity=Cross%20Country.

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 3       
12:40 p.m.      Division 2       
1:20 p.m.        Division 1       

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

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:  Middleton captured the Division 1 State championship, compiling a five-runner score of 61. Madison West was a distant second with a score of 150. Lauren Pansegrau of Middleton was the individual champion in Division 1 by completing the 5,000-kilometer course in a  time of 17:44.7. Dodgeville/Mineral Point raced to the team title in Division 2 with a score of 88, edging Shorewood by a single point. Kayci Martensen of Southwestern/Benton/Cuba City won the girls Division 2 individual title for the third year in a row, finishing in a time of 18:10.0. Boscobel won the team gold medal in Division 3 with a team score of 71 points, which was 37 points fewer than runner-up Valders with 108. Elsie Kmecak of Catholic Central won the individual title in Division 3 with a time of  19:47.7.

LAST YEAR-BOYS: Onalaska was crowned the boys team championship in Division 1 with a score of 89. Homestead was runner-up, scoring 94 points. Austin Henderson of Neenah won the boys Division 1 individual championship in a time of 15:40.5. Shorewood earned the Division 2 team championship by posting a score of 54. Notre Dame was runner-up with 73 points. Nathan Cumberbatch of Shorewood earned individual medalist honor in Division 2, finishing the course in 16:06.4. Valders won the Division 3 boys team title by compiling 78 points, which was seven fewer than runner-up Grantsburg, which finished with 85. Shane Griepentrog of Valders won the Division 3 boys individual crown with a time of 15:38.6.

GIRLS TEAM NOTES:  Middleton, the defending team champion in Division 1 after capturing the alternate season title in the 2020-21 season, returns a squad with two runners that participated at State last year. There are five other teams that have qualified that finished in the top 10 a year ago, including Muskego (3rd), Whitefish Bay (4th), Kaukauna (6th), Neenah (8th) and Appleton North (9th). Of these, Muskego has the most  returning runners with five, followed by Whitefish Bay, Kaukauna and Neenah with four. The Division 2 field has eight teams qualifying this year that finished in the top 10 last year, including  returning champion Dodgeville/Mineral Point. The others are Shorewood (2nd), Freedom (3rd), Notre Dame (5th), Xavier (7th), Medford (8th), New Berlin Eisenhower (9th) and Amery (10th). Dodgeville/Mineral Point is positioned to retain its title with six runners returning from the team that won the championship last season. Amery also has six runners returning. Shorewood, Medford and New Berlin Eisenhower each have four runners on their rosters that participated in the State Meet in 2021. In Division 3, six of the top 10 teams in last year’s results are back for another run at the title, including defending champion Boscobel. The five others include runner-up Valders, Lourdes Academy (3rd) Kickapoo/La Farge (4th), Lancaster (6th) and Assumption (10th). The competition for the title should be hotly contested. Boscobel has five runners back from the championship squad, and both Valders and Lourdes has all seven of their runners back in the meet this year. Kickapoo/La Farge has four returning runners; Lancaster has three; and Assumption has two.

GIRLS INDIVIDUAL NOTES:  Three individuals return to the qualifying field after they finished among the top seven last season. Sophomore Mackenzie Babcock of Monona Grove raced to a third-place finish, and senior Zaira Malloy-Salgado of Middleton finished five seconds behind her in fourth. In addition, Malloy-Salgado placed third in the alternate season in 2020-21. Sophomore Kate Schmoll of West De Pere is also back after placing seventh as a freshman last year. Other potential challengers based on their sectional titles last week, including some with top-20 finishes at State a year ago, are freshman Ella Anschutz of Muskego; sophomore Marah Benedict of New Richmond; sophomore Molly Deering of Badger; senior Savannah Farley of Homestead; junior Sara Mlodik of D.C. Everest, who placed 12th in 2021; senior Summer Schuster of Slinger;  junior Isabella Switalski of Milwaukee Reagan; senior Dasha Vorontsov of Oregon, and sophomore Cianna Wipperfurth of Waunakee, who placed 14th last year. In Division 2, a number of returning runners should be in the hunt for the individual crown, including six that placed in the top 10 a year ago. The top returning runner is sophomore Faith Wehrman of New Berlin Eisenhower, who was runner-up as a freshman. Junior Nora Gremban of Northland Pines, who finished third behind Wehrman, and sophomore Ellie Robinson of Dodgeville/Mineral Point, who was fourth, should also contend for the individual championship. Senior Rachel Ulrich of Osceola returns after finishing in a familiar spot last season. She placed fifth for the third consecutive season. Also returning to the field is sophomore Annie Robinson, twin sister of Ellie, placed seventh in 2021. In addition, senior Fran Peterson of Barron is back after finishing ninth a year ago following a 10th-place result in 2020. Senior Mya Hartjes of University School of Milwaukee returns to the State meet for the fourth time. She fell to 103rd last season after placing eighth in 2020 and 11th in 2019. Other contenders that could possibly challenge for a medal based on their sectional championships, including one with a top-20 finish last year, are freshman Emmerson Drobac of Deerfield/Cambridge; sophomore Britt Fitzgerald of Mosinee; junior Lilie Fouts of Xavier; junior Abigail Sadler of Mount Horeb; and junior Sophie Yetter of Winneconne, who placed 11th last season after placing sixth as a freshman in 2020.  Division 3 defending champion, senior Elsie Kmecak of Catholic Central, is one of seven runners that placed in the top 10 last season returning to this year’s race. Her stiffest challenges for a repeat title could come from junior Autumn Michalski of Chequamegon, who  placed third last year, or sophomore Hannah Welch of Valders, who was fourth. Sophomore Nora Jillson of Boscobel should also be considered a contender after placing sixth a year ago, as should junior Marah Gruen of Royall, who was seventh after a 14th-place performance in 2020. Junior Halle Van Horn of Random Lake may also be among the leaders after placing ninth last year, which came on the heels of a runner-up finish in 2020. In addition, senior Ann Boland of Unity seeks to improve on her 10th-place standing in 2021. Other runners that have had past success in the medal chase are senior Jenna Anders of Fall Creek, who placed sixth in 2020 and 34th last season, and junior Autumn Jacks of Kickapoo/La Farge, who placed 44th in 2021 after finishing 10th two years ago. Other runners with State experience may also be among the leaders. Senior Molly Heidorn of Colfax is a four-time qualifier. She placed 19th a year ago after finishing fourth in 2020 and fifth in 2019. Another group of qualifiers who could be in contention for a top-10 finish based on their sectional titles last week are freshmen Lucy Dolan of Assumption, Addy Duellman of Cochrane-Fountain City and Addison May of Crandon; and sophomore Erin Moore of Lourdes Academy.

BOYS TEAM NOTES:   This year’s Division 1 field is loaded with teams that placed in the top 10 last season. Homestead qualifies this year after a runner-up finish a year ago. The other seven programs in this years meet that finished in the top 10 a year ago are Stevens Point (4th), Badger (5th), Arrowhead (6th), Madison West (7th), Hartford (8th), Middleton (9th) and Oconomowoc (10th). Of the teams that placed in the top 10 in 2021, Madison West and Oconomowoc  have the most runners returning to the meet that participated at State last year with five. Arrowhead, Hartford and Middleton have four, and Homestead and Stevens Point have three. The Division 2 field of teams has six teams returning that competed at State last year, including defending champion Shorewood, runner-up Notre Dame, and Osceola, which placed third. The other three teams that landed in the top 10 last year with qualifying teams this season are West Salem (7th), Shawano (8th) and Lakeside Lutheran (10th). Of the these teams, Notre Dame, Osceola, Shawano and Lakeside Lutheran have the most experience coming back with five runners returning that competed in the meet a year ago. Shorewood and West Salem have just two qualifiers back from last year’s meet. Defending champion Valders has qualified seeking a second consecutive Division 3 title. There are only three other teams that have qualified this season that placed in the top 10 last year, including Ozaukee (3rd), Pacelli (7th) and Aquinas (8th). The race for the team championship could be wide open with Valders and Aquinas returning only two participants that competed at State last year. Ozaukee and Pacelli looks to improve on last year’s performance with five runners back that experienced State a year ago.

BOYS INDIVIDUALNOTES:  The Division 1 individual competition has four runners back in the field that placed in the top 10 a year ago. Senior Owen Bosley of Homestead should contend for the title after placing third last season. Senior teammate Dominic Silhol may also be among the leaders after placing two spots behind Bosley in fifth place. Sophomore Manny Putz of Onalaska is back to contend for the title after placing seventh last year as a freshman. Senior Noah Jahnke of West De Pere and junior Bode Erickson of Stevens Point may also challenge for the title and a spot on the awards stand after placing ninth and 10th, respectively in 2021. A pair of runners with top-10 finishes in the alternate season of 2020-21 seek to return to the medal hunt. Senior Mason Gates of Manitowoc Lincoln placed 19th a year ago after finishing ninth in the alternate season in 2020-21, and senior Mateo Alvarado Venegas of Sun Prairie West qualifies this year after placing sixth in the alternate season and falling to 56th last year. Other contenders for the title following sectional titles last week are senior Ben Dohlby of Pewaukee, freshman Grady Lenn of De Pere, senior Colman Lenci of Marquette, senior Nash Merklein of Hartford, senior Blake Oleson of Verona; sophomore Remy Strichartz of Kenosha Indian Trail and senior Hayden Treibold of Oconomowoc. In Division 2, just three individuals return after placing in the top 10 last season. The most notable is senior Eli Boppart of Mauston, who should again contend for the title after finishing runner-up last season and seventh in 2020. Senior Riley Huss of Little Chute should challenge for a position on the medal podium after placing ninth the past two seasons. The same may be said for senior Tyler Loucks of Prescott, who finished 10th last year and for senior Isaac Nowak of Notre Dame, who is also back after he finished just outside the top 10 in the 11th spot. Other qualifiers that won their sectionals last week, including a couple that finished within the top 20 a year ago, that may be in the running for the State title are junior Owen Clark of Lakeland, who finished 20th last year; senior Kyle Giricz of Catholic Memorial; senior Connor Murphy of Sheboygan Falls; senior Alex Pazdernik of Ellsworth; senior Joseph Stoddard of Mount Horeb, junior Cameron Weiland of Lakeside Lutheran, who was 13th last season; and freshman Grant Wenzelow of Winneconne. The race for the individual crown in Division 3 features three top-10 finishers returning from last year’s championships. Senior Wesley Pronschinske of Cochrane-Fountain City is the presumed frontrunner for the title after moving up to fifth last year following  an eighth-place performance in 2020. However, junior Carter Scholey of Belleville could challenge for the title as well following last year’s eighth-place finish. Senior Alex Peterson of Gillett looks to improve on last season’s 10th-place result to vie for a position on the award stand this season. Senior Gabe Hoerter of Pacelli hopes to regain the form that paced him to a sixth-place finish in 2019. Subsequently, he was 12th in 2020 and 47th a year ago. Other runners that were sectional champions last week, including a few with top-20 finishes last year, that may finish among the leaders are senior Davis Behler of Kohler, who finished 20th last year; Owen Klaus of Ozaukee, who was 11th last season; sophomore Gavin Stewart of Ladysmith; junior Charlie Vater of Iola-Scandinavia, who was 17th in 2021; and senior JJ Williams of Glenwood City, who was 12th a year ago.

AWARDS CEREMONY:  The award ceremony for teams and individuals will be held at the Ridges Golf Course after the final race. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 3:25 p.m. with the awards presented in the order of the races at the podium to the west of the starting boxes.

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:  https://www.pttiming.com/results-current.php.

ORDER STATE MEET APPAREL ONLINE: WIAA licensed State Championship apparel is available for sale at the course. Post-meet apparel will be available for sale online beginning the evening of Oct. 29 and running through Sunday, Nov. 6 prior to midnight. A link to the post-meet online store will be available on the Cross Country Tournament page on the WIAA website.

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 and follow us on Instagram at wiaawi.

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