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Monday, October 24, 2016

WIAA State Cross Country Meet Preview

THE MEET:  The 104th running of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Boys Cross Country Championships and the 44th Annual Girls Cross Country Championships will take place Saturday, Oct. 29, at The Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. Ticket price for the meet is $6. 
  
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: 

Boys
Noon Division 3
12:35 p.m. Division 2
1:10 p.m.     Division 1

Girls
1:45 p.m.  Division 3
2:25 p.m.  Division 2
3:05 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 Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Time Warner subscribers can check their local cable listings for the channel number in their area.

HOW THEY QUALIFIED:  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: Defending champion Eau Claire Memorial won its second straight Division 1 girls team title with a five-runner score of 117. Arrowhead finished second with a team total of 169. Aubrey Roberts of Eau Claire Memorial was the individual champion. She covered the 5-kilometer course in 17:49.98. Pewaukee ran to its fifth team title in Division 2 with a score of 112. Shorewood finished second with a score of 138. Alicia Monson of Amery was the individual champion with a time of 18:28.96. Lourdes Academy claimed the Division 3 team championship for the third straight season and for the fifth time in six seasons with a score of 98, which was seven points fewer than runner-up Westby. Alissa Niggemann of Amherst won the individual title with a time of 19:00.40. 

LAST YEAR-BOYS:  The Division 1 boys team crown went to Kimberly, finishing with a score of 80. Madison La Follette placed second with a score of 99. Finn Gessner of Madison La Follette won individual honors with a time of 15:44.60 on the 5-kilometer course. Pewaukee won the Division 2 crown with a score of 85. Wisconsin Lutheran was runner-up with 102 points. Daniel Pederson of Spooner ran to the individual Division 2 title with a time of 16:07.23. Darlington won its fifth straight State Division 3 team championship and its seventh title overall with a score of 49, well ahead of runner-up Boscobel with 106 points. Kevin Koski of Chequamegon won his second consecutive individual championship with a time of 16:02.59. 

BOYS TEAM NOTES:   This year’s Division 1 field contains teams that comprised seven of last year’s top 10 finishers. Last season’s champion Kimberly returns to the State meet with four runners that ran in last year’s event. West Bend West has three returning runners after placing third a year ago. Middleton, which placed fourth, returns its top four finishers from last season. Other teams returning from last year’s top 10 include Arrowhead, which placed sixth; Stevens Point eighth; Homestead ninth; and Sun Prairie in 10th place. Six of the top 10 teams in Division 2 last year return to challenge for the team title. Last year’s champion Pewaukee moves up to Division 1; so a new champion will be crowned this year.  Last year’s runner-up Wisconsin Lutheran, which won the title in 2011, 2013 and 2014, returns three runners that competed in last year’s State meet. Notre Dame returns a pair of runners from a team that placed third a year ago. Lakeland and Shorewood each have three runners returning off squads that placed fifth and sixth in 2015, respectively. The other teams finishing in the top 10 in 2015 that are among the team qualifiers are Northwestern, which was ninth, and Cedar Grove-Belgium, which placed 10th. Five-time defending Division 3 champion Darlington returns attempting to make it six titles in a row in Division 3. The Redbirds return four runners that ran at State a year ago. There are five other teams finishing in the top 10 in 2015 returning with hopes of contending for the crown. They are Chequamegon, who returns five runners after finishing third last season; Aquinas, with five runners returning for a team that placed fourth; and Rosholt, which placed fifth a year ago with five returning participants this year. Assumption finished sixth last season and has five returnees to the meet, and Sheboygan Lutheran was 10th last year.

BOYS INDIVIDUAL NOTES:  Senior Finn Gessner of Madison La Follette is the returning champion in Division 1. He is back attempting to defend his title. Other competitors returning to this year’s field from last season’s top 10 are senior Gus Newcomb of Middleton, who placed fifth; sophomore Drew Bosley of Homestead, who was seventh; senior Nate Farrell of Janesville Craig, who was eighth the last two seasons; and sophomore Ricky Perez of Stevens Point, who placed ninth in 2015. Other possible contenders based on their sectional titles or experience in previous State meets are seniors Tannor Wagner of Ashwaubenon, Noah Tagliapietra of Fond du Lac, Cole Sandvold of Arrowhead, Sam Pinkowski of La Crosse Central; and juniors Jordan Janusiak of South Milwaukee and Ansel Fellman of Kenosha Bradford/Reuther. In Division 2, senior Luke Bailey of Xavier is the top returning individual after racing to a third-place finish last season. Two other runners returning from top-10 finishes last year are seniors Clark Otte of Sheboygan Falls, who placed sixth, and Chris Pahnke of McFarland, who was 10th. Other potential contenders for the individual title based on past State experience or their sectional performances are seniors Matt Olson of Wisconsin Lutheran, Dustin Hatfield of River Valley, Rylee Miller of Jefferson; and juniors Maury Miller of Ashland and Miguel Mathias of Nekoosa/Port Edwards. In Division 3, senior Jacob Wahlers of Algoma is the highest finisher from last year’s race returning this season. He placed sixth. Junior Dan Lau of Eau Claire Immanuel Lutheran is back after placing seventh last season. Two other qualifiers that placed in the top 10 last year are senior Brian Matthews of Riverdale, who was ninth, and junior Wesley Schiek of Valley Christian, who was 10th. Other possible challengers for the individual crown possessing State experience or racing to sectional titles are senior Andrew Ruiz of Webster; junior Michael Axtman of Living Word Lutheran; and sophomores David Vannucchi of Luther, Adam Rzentkowski of Rosholt and Payton Heinberg of Darlington.  

GIRLS TEAM NOTES:  Six of last year’s top eight teams have qualified to return to the Division 1 field this year. Two-time defending champion Eau Claire Memorial is back with four of its runners returning from the 2015 title team. Arrowhead also returns four runners to the meet after placing runner-up a year ago. Sun Prairie returns four runners from the team that finished fourth, as does Divine Savior Holy Angels, which placed fifth last year. Other programs placing in the top 10 a year ago that return this year are Whitefish Bay, which placed seventh and Waukesha West, which was eighth. The Division 2 field features four of the teams finishing in the top 10 last year. Pewaukee, the champion, moved up to Division 1. Luxemburg-Casco is the top returning team after placing third last season. The Spartans have six returning runners in pursuit of the team title. Wisconsin Lutheran returns four participants from a team that placed fourth a year ago. The other two top-10 teams last year that have qualified this year are McFarland, which was eighth, and Plymouth, which was ninth. In Division 3, three-time defending champion Lourdes Academy is back in an attempt to win its fourth straight title with five returning runners. Three other teams that placed in the top 10 last season have qualified again this season, including Albany, which placed fourth, returning five participants from last year’s team. Aquinas, which finished fifth last year, returns three runners, and Phillips placed sixth in 2015 and has six returning runners on this year’s squad. 

GIRLS INDIVIDUAL NOTES:  Senior Cami Davre of Whitefish Bay is the top returning runner in Division 1. She raced to a runner-up finish last season, a fourth-place finish in 2014 and third-place result in 2013. There are five other competitors in this year’s field that placed in the top 10 a year ago. Junior Meghan Scott of Divine Savior Holy Angels finished fourth; senior Trista Pringle of Sun Prairie was fifth; senior Hannah Roeske of Eau Claire Memorial was seventh; junior Mason Kalander of Holmen was ninth; and sophomore Kate Jochims of Muskego was 10th. Other potential challengers based on previous State experience or sectional performances are senior Rachel Jeffers of Hamilton, juniors Savannah Huben of Bay Port and Peyton Sippy of Janesville Craig, sophomore Brooke Jaworski of Wausau West and freshman Jada Donaldson of Beaver Dam. In Division 2, five top-10 finishers return to the field this season led by sophomore Dana Feyen, who finished runner-up in last year’s meet. Senior Jacie Legois of Luxemburg-Casco finished third, and senior Audrey Janik of Wisconsin Lutheran was fourth last year after placing fifth in 2014 and seventh in 2013.  Other top-10 finishers last year back to challenge for the title include junior Erin Sorg of Delavan-Darien, who placed fifth, and sophomore  Lindsey Grams of Little Chute, who was ninth. In addition, junior Elena Schmidt of Westby moves up into Division 2 after placing second in Division 3 in 2015. Other contenders that may possibly challenge for the individual championship based on notable State experience or sectional results are senior Kara Pyatskowit of Clintonville; juniors Elise Large of Random Lake/Ozaukee and Anya Swanson of Somerset; and freshmen Annie Higgins of Xavier and McKenzie Fillner of Evansville. Seven of the top 10 individual finishers from last year’s meet return for another run at the title. Senior Delaney Greene-Gretzinger of Marion should again contend for the individual championship this season after placing fourth last year in defense of the title she won in 2014. Junior Erika Kisting of Iola-Scandinavia is the highest-placing finisher returning from last year’s championships, placing third. Senior Noelle Maire of Belleville has finished fifth the last two seasons. She should also be in contention for the title. Three other possible contenders that finished in the top 10 in 2015 are junior Kassye Todd of Elmwood/Plum City, who was sixth; sophomore Lydia Murphy of Lancaster, who was seventh; and sophomore Rachel Lawton of Flambeau, who was 10th. Others who could be in contention for the title based on their State experience or their sectional performances are senior Emily Foley of Lourdes Academy; junior Carrie Pfaff of Melrose-Mindoro; sophomores Meygan Benzing of Dodgeland and Erica Kallstrom of Colfax; and freshman Marissa Ellenbecker of Edgar. 

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: http://live.pttiming.com/xc-ptt.html?mid=105.

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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