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Monday, October 26, 2015

State Cross Country Championships Preview

THE MEET:  The 103rd running of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Boys Cross Country Championships and the 43rd Annual Girls Cross Country Championships will take place Saturday, Oct. 31, at The Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. Ticket price for the meet is $6. 
  
RACE INFORMATION:  The boys and girls will run a 5,000-meter course. It’s the second year the girls will be racing at that distance. The following is a listing of the 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

STATE MEET HIGHLIGHT SHOW:  A 30-minute highlight show of both the State Boys and Girls Cross Country Meets will be aired on the Time Warner Cable Sports Channel on Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., respectively. Time Warner customers can check their local cable listings for the channel number in their area.

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:  Eau Claire Memorial won the Division 1 team title by scoring 118 points. Stevens Point finished second with a five-runner score of 127. After finishing runner-up the two previous years, Notre Dame won the Division 2 championship with a score of 91. McFarland placed second by compiling 99 points. Lourdes Academy claimed its second consecutive Division 3 team championship by scoring 68. Runner-up Westby finished with a score of 90. Annie Frisbie of River Falls won the Division 1 individual championship, completing the 5,000-meter course with a time of 17:59.14. In Division 2, Amy Davis of Edgewood ran to the individual title with a time of 17:46.23, and Delaney Greene-Gretzinger of Marion posted the best time in Division 3 at 19:05.43 to capture the individual crown. 

LAST YEAR-BOYS:  Madison West won the Division 1 team championship with a score of 77. Stevens Point finished a distant second, scoring 157 points. Wisconsin Lutheran captured the Division 2 crown for the second year in a row, tallying a score of 33. That is the lowest team score since Albany recorded 32 in 1988. Shorewood was the runner-up with 123 points. Darlington won the Division 3 team championship for the fourth straight season by scoring 54 points. Chequamegon finished runner-up for the second consecutive year, posting a score of 90. Olin Hacker of Madison West won the individual title for the second straight year in Division 1 with a time of 14.59.10. Ben Eidenschink of Nekoosa/Port Edwards captured the Division 2 individual crown with a time of 15:42.71, and Kevin Koski of Chequamegon was the victor in Division 3 with a time of 16:06.72.

GIRLS TEAM NOTES:  Eight of last year’s top 10 teams and 12 of the 20 teams that have qualified  return to the Division 1 field this year. Defending champion Eau Claire Memorial is back with four of its runners returning from the 2014 title team. Sun Prairie also returns four runners from the team that finished third a year ago, as does Whitefish Bay, which placed fourth last year. Other programs placing in the top 10 a year ago that return this year are Arrowhead, which placed fifth; Waukesha West, which was seventh; Appleton North eighth; Pulaski ninth; and Bay Port 10th. The Division 2 field features six of the teams finishing in the top 10 last year. Notre Dame, whichfollowed a runner-up finish in 2013 with a championship last season, returns four runners that ran in the State meet last year. Last year’s runner-up McFarland has three runners back from last year’s squad. Shorewood finished third and returns five runners, while Wisconsin Lutheran returns four participants from a team that placed fifth a year ago. Other top-10 teams last year qualifying this year are Freedom, which was seventh, and Pewaukee, which was 10th. In Division 3, two-time defending champion Lourdes Academy is back to attempt to win its third straight title with four returning runners. Six other teams that placed in the top 10 last season have qualified again this season, including runner-up Westby, which will return four participants from last year’s team. The other top-10 teams returning are Aquinas, which finished fourth; Phillips fifth; Brookfield Academy seventh; Kenosha St. Joseph ninth and Chequamegon 10th. 

GIRLS INDIVIDUAL NOTES:  Senior Aubrey Roberts of Eau Claire Memorial is the top returning runner in Division 1. She raced to a runner-up finish last season after a sixth-place finish in 2013 and another runner-up finish in 2012. Senior Katie Hietpas of Sun Prairie finished third last year and fifth in 2013. She returns to compete in this year's event. Junior Cami Davre of Whitefish Bay should also contend for the title after placing fourth last season and third as a freshman in 2013. Other returning runners among the top 10 last year are senior Delany Eigenberger of Madison Memorial, who was sixth; junior Hannah Lohrenz of Hortonville, who finished seventh; and sophomore Peyton Sippy of Janesville Craig, who was ninth. Other potential challengers based on previous State experience or sectional performances are seniors Annie Moore of Fond du Lac, Sam Valentine of Middleton, McKensey Van Wie of Sun Prairie, Emma Langer of Waukesha West and Marlie Houston of Oconomowoc, who fell to 58th last year but placed 10th in 2013 and 11th in 2012. Other individuals that can contend for finishes among the leaders are sophomores Meghan Scott of Divine Savior Holy Angels and Savannah Huben of Bay Port, and freshman Kate Jochims of Muskego. In Division 2, senior Morgan Florsheim of Shorewood is the highest placing finisher returning from last year’s meet. She finished runner-up after winning the individual title in 2013. A number of other top-10 finishers last year are also back to challenge for the title. That list includes senior Alicia Monson of Amery, who placed third, and juniors Audrey Janik of Wisconsin Lutheran, who placed fifth last year and seventh in 2013; McKenzie Kruchten of Lodi, who was seventh; and Maria Ehlinger of Notre Dame, who was ninth. Other contenders that may possibly challenge for the individual championship based on notable State experience or sectional results are seniors Kara Pyatskowit of Clintonville and Sophie Bolich of Plymouth; juniors Jacie Legois of Luxemburg-Casco, Brooke Lonigro of McFarland, and Micaela Gayner of Shorewood; sophomore Mandy Wierzba of Poynette; and freshman Dana Feyen of Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau. Junior Delaney Greene-Gretzinger of Marion is the returning individual champion in Division 3. She qualifies for the chance to win another title. Five other possible contenders this year finished in the top 10 last season. Those include sophomore Ryanne Schneider of Aquinas, who was fourth; junior Noelle Maire of Belleville, who was fifth; sophomore Elena Schmidt of Westby, who was seventh; senior Alissa Niggemann of Amherst, who was eighth after a sixth-place finish in 2013; and senior Ellie Lochner of Phillips, who finished 10th. Others who could be in contention for the titles based on their State experience or their sectional performances are seniors Autumn Wickman of Athens and Mady Scopp of Kenosha St. Joseph; sophomores Kassye Todd of Elmwood/Plum City and Sarah Niehueser of Winnebago Lutheran; and freshman Rachel Lawton of Flambeau.

BOYS TEAM NOTES:   This year’s Division 1 field contains teams that comprised nine of last year’s top 10 finishers. Only 2014 champion Madison West is absent from that list. Last year’s runner-up Stevens Point returns to the State meet with just two runners that ran in last year’s event. Arrowhead has three returning runners after placing third a year ago, and Madison La Follette, which placed fourth, returns its top five finishers from last season. Other teams returning from last year’s top 10 include Kimberly, which  placed fifth; Middleton sixth; Muskego seventh; Marquette eighth; Green Bay Preble ninth; and West Bend West in 10th place. The top six teams in Division 2 last year return to challenge for the team title, including two-time defending champion Wisconsin Lutheran, which returns a pair of runners that competed in last year’s State meet. Last year’s runner-up Shorewood has qualified with one returning runner. The other teams finishing in the top 10 in 2014 are Lakeland, which finished third, and Pewaukee, which placed fourth. The Pirates are loaded with experience this year with all seven of last year’s State competitors returning. Notre Dame finished fifth last year, McFarland sixth and Edgewood eighth. Four-time defending Division 3 champion Darlington returns attempting to make it five in a row in Division 3. The Redbirds return five runners that ran at State a year ago. The other four teams finishing in the top 10 in 2014 and returning with hopes of contending for the crown are Chequamegon, who returns five runners after finishing second the last two seasons; Aquinas, which placed fourth; Sheboygan Lutheran sixth; and McDonell Central eighth.

BOYS INDIVIDUAL NOTES:  With the graduation of two-time champion Olin Hacker, Division 1 will have a new individual champion. Junior Finn Gessner of Madison La Follette is the top returning finisher from last season back to challenge for the title. He placed fifth. Other competitors returning to this year’s field from last season’s top 10 are senior Nicholas Rink  of Kimberly, who placed sixth, and junior Nate Farrell of Janesville Craig, who was eighth. Other possible contenders based on their sectional finishes or experience in previous State meets are seniors Anthony Anderson of D.C. Everest, Alec Basten of Green Bay Southwest, Matt Cavanaugh of New Berlin Eisenhower, Sam Potter of Wauwatosa East and Jacob Hebior of Westosha Central; juniors Sam Pinkowski of La Crosse Central and Gus Newcomb of Middleton; and sophomore Luke Guttormson of West Bend West. In Division 2, senior Robert Wagner of Pewaukee is the top returning individual after racing to a fourth-place finish last season. Two other runners returning from top-10 finishes last year are seniors Daniel Pederson of Spooner, who placed seventh, and Jarod Rudolph of Medford, who was eighth. Other potential contenders based on past State experience or their sectional performances are seniors Sam Bell of Ellsworth, Ryan Gurgel of Kettle Moraine Lutheran and Luke Sampson of Little Chute, and juniors Chris Pahnke of McFarland, Clark Otte of Sheboygan Falls and Luke Bailey of Xavier. In Division 3, senior Kevin Koski of Chequamegon is the returning champion back for the opportunity to win back-to-back titles. He should expect a stiff challenge from a number of contenders that placed within the top 10 last season. Senior Dakota Kauffman of Boscobel is back after placing runner-up last season and fifth in 2013. Two other qualifiers that placed in the top 10 last year are seniors Jaden Komprood of Darlington, who was third and also ninth in 2013; Lucas Weber of Lourdes Academy, who was eighth; and Tyler Gilbertson of Belleville, who placed 10th. Other possible challengers for the individual crown possessing State experience or racing to sectional titles are seniors Andy Barnhart of Living Word Lutheran and Spencer Oftedahl of Westby; juniors Jacob Wahlers of Algoma, Connor Dolan of Assumption, Josh Langteau of Athens and Alec Potter of Laconia; and sophomore Dan Lau of Eau Claire Immanuel Lutheran.  

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. 

TOURNAMENT DRONE POLICY: Drone operation at WIAA Tournaments require a Certificate of Authorization or a 333 Exemption issued by the FAA where required by law. Operators must also receive written consent from the WIAA executive office at least 24 hours in advance, as well as approval of the host facility event management. Contact Todd Clark at the WIAA office with all requests to operate drones at WIAA Tournament events. To review the entire policy, access the Drone Policy link on the restricted area of the Media Center of 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 follow daily recaps on Facebook.

#  WIAA  #

Written by WIAA Communications

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