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WIAA State Cross Country Championships Preview

Monday, October 25, 2021

WIAA State Cross Country Championships Preview

THE MEET:  The 109th running of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Boys Cross Country Championships and the 48th Annual Girls Cross Country Championships will take place Saturday, Oct. 30, at The Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.

ADMISSION TICKETS: 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://www.wiaawi.org/Tickets.

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 2
12:35 p.m. - Division 1
1:10 p.m. - Division 3

Girls
1:45 p.m. - Division 2
2:25 p.m. -  Division 1
3:05 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:  Kaukauna won the Division 1 State championship, compiling a five-runner score of 79. Whitefish Bay placed second with a score of 86. Kora Malecek of Onalaska successfully defended her title to win the championship for the second consecutive year. She paced the field with a winning time of 17:52.8. Winneconne raced to the team title in Division 2 with a score of 76. Osceola finished second for the second straight season, compiling a score of 119. Kayci Martensen of Southwestern/Benton/Cuba City won the girls Division 2 individual title for the second year in a row, finishing in a time of 18:09.29, almost 28 seconds faster than the next competitor. Lancaster ran to its second girls Division 3 team championship in a three-year period with a team score of 93 points, which is 10 points fewer than runner-up Ozaukee with 103. Brooklyn Luebke of Manitowoc Lutheran ran to the girls individual gold medal in Division 3, covering the 5-kilometer course in 18:55.53.

LAST YEAR-BOYS: Oconomowoc captured the boys team championship in Division 1 with a score of 109, and Marquette raced to a second-place finish with a score of 129. Joshua Truchon of West Allis Hale won the boys Division 1 individual championship in a time of 15:18.3. He finished almost 20 seconds ahead of Cael Grotenhuis of Slinger, who finished runner-up for the second year in a row. He covered the course in a time of 15:38.0. Aquinas moved up a division to capture the Division 2 boys team championship after winning the Division 3 title in 2019. Kiel was second with a score of 108. Leo Richardson of Edgewood, who was runner-up in 2019, won medalist honors with a time of 15:47.05. Sheboygan Lutheran won the Division 3 boys team title for the first time since its run of three championships from 2004-06. The Crusaders compiled 56 points, and Brookwood finished a distant second with 121 points. Parker Schneider of Durand won the Division 3 boys individual crown with a time of 16:05.78.

ALTERNATE SEASON RECAP:  Middleton won the alternate season girls team championship with 41 points. Oregon finished second in the team standings with 76 points. The Cardinals’ Lauren Pansegrau won the individual title with a time of 17:07.3 after finishing runner-up in Division 1 in 2019. Her performance is the fastest 5,000-meter time ran in the history of the State Meet. Stevens Point captured the boys alternate season team title with a score of 32, Sun Prairie finished second at 69 points. The Panthers’ Jake Bourget won the individual gold medal in a time of 15:38.6. Griffin Ward of Middleton finished runner-up with his time of 15:43.2.

GIRLS TEAM NOTES:  There are nine teams that placed in the top 10 in either last year’s fall championships or during last spring’s alternate season, including the champion of each season. Kaukauna was the champion of the traditional season. The Galloping Ghosts return to the field with four runners back from last year’s team. Middleton is essentially after their second straight title as well. The Cardinals were the champion of the alternate season last spring. They have four runners from the alternate season returning this season. Whitefish Bay placed second last season, and the Blue Dukes are back with four returning runners. Kimberly has four runners returning from its fifth-place finish last season, and Menomonie has six runners back from an eighth-place finish. The three other teams from the alternate season qualifying this year are Oregon with five returning runners after placing second; Madison West with five returning runners that finished third; and Oshkosh West, which was seventh. The Division 2 field has only three teams finishing in the top 10 in either the traditional season or the alternate season. One of them is Winneconne, which won the championship last fall. The Wolves return five runners from that team in an attempt to defend the title. New Glarus/Monticello placed eighth during the alternate season. The Glarner Knights return with five runners from that team, and Freedom has four competitors back this year after placing ninth last fall. In Division 3, five of the top 10 teams in last year’s results are back for another run at the title, including defending champion Lancaster. The Flying Arrows attempt to win their third title in the past four years and back-to-back titles with four participants returning to the meet that contributed to winning the crown last season. Kickapoo/La Farge placed third last year and should again contend for the title with five racers returning to the field. Durand has a pair of runners back after placing sixth last year, and Catholic Central placed seventh a year ago with six returning participants, which is the most of any qualifying team. Assumption has five returning runners off the team that was ninth in 2020.

GIRLS INDIVIDUAL NOTES:  The race for the individual championship in Division 1 features seven runners that finished in the top nine in either the traditional season or alternate season in 2020-21. Senior Lauren Pansegrau of Middleton was the gold medalist during the alternate season after a runner-up finish in 2019. Senior Genevieve Nashold of Madison West has a wealth of experience at State. She won the championship in 2018 as a freshman, and she finished eighth in 2019 and runner-up in the alternate season last spring. Junior Zaira Malloy-Salgado, Pansegrau’s teammate at Middleton finished third during the alternate season, and Oregon junior Dasha Vorontsov placed fifth. Sophomore Katie Rassbach of Eau Claire North and senior Jillian Heth of Eau Claire Memorial were sixth and seventh, respectively, at the alternate season championships. Four competitors that ran to top-10 finishes last fall in the traditional season are senior Isabela Ross of Oak Creek, who placed fifth after finishing 13th in 2019; sophomore Haley Loewe of Hudson, who was seventh; senior Rachel Helm of Muskego, who was ninth after placing 14th in 2019; and senior Isabella Jacobsen of Menomonie, who was 10th. Other potential challengers based on their sectional titles last week are senior Audrey Amaya of Racine Case, freshman Victoria Garces of Sheboygan North, sophomore Lily Kriegel of Whitefish Bay, sophomore Sara Mlodik of D.C. Everest, and freshman Kate Schmoll of West De Pere. In Division 2, a number of returning runners should be in the hunt for the individual crown, including eight that placed in the top 10 a year ago. Senior Kayci Martensen of Southwestern/Benton/Cuba City is the two-time reigning champion in the division. She also ran to her third-place finish as a freshman in 2018. She could get challenged by senior Anna Gallagher of Two Rivers, who was third last year following a runner-up finish in 2019 and a fifth-place result in 2018. Junior Rachel Ulrich of Osceola, who has placed fifth the past two seasons, is also seeking to place high in the standings. Sophomore Sophie Yetter of Winneconne placed sixth as a freshman last season, and sophomore Hanna Martensen of Southwestern/Benton/Cuba City has qualified for the second time after placing seventh in 2020. Junior Mya Hartjes of University School of Milwaukee improved on her 11th-place finish in 2019 by placing eighth last year, and senior Sophie Moravec of Martin Luther returns hoping to improve on a ninth-place run last season after placing 19th in 2019 and 18th in 2018. Junior Fran Peterson of Barron is back after cracking the top 10 last year in the 10th spot. Other experienced runners with sights on making it to the award stand are senior Elizabeth Schmidt of Merrill, who was 12th in Division 1 last season; senior Isabella Lozier of Shorewood, who was fourth in 2019; junior Kaitlyn Carlson of St. Croix Central, who was fifth in 2019; and senior Jessica Wilson of Little Chute, who was sixth in 2019.  Other contenders that could possibly challenge for a medal based on their sectional championships are sophomore Nora Gremban of Northland Pines, sophomore Jemma Habben of Watertown Luther Prep, junior Lydia Seifarth of Turner and freshman Faith Wehrman of New Berlin Eisenhower. Seven of the top 10 finishers from last year’s meet return to challenge for the individual title in Division 3, including two former champions. Senior Brooklyn Luebke of Manitowoc Lutheran returns as the defending champion. She captured the crown last season after a fourth-place finish in 2019. Senior Abby Bartel of Weyauwega-Fremont seeks to regain the stride that won her gold in 2019. She dropped to eighth place last season. Sophomore Halle Van Horn of Random Lake, who was runner-up last season as a freshman, will attempt to contend for the title this season. Senior Anelise Egge of Kickapoo/La Farge is back to challenge for the crown after placing in the top 10 the past three years, including third last season, 10th in 2019 and eighth in 2018. Junior Jenna Anders of Fall Creek came in sixth a year ago. Sophomore Raquel Reuter of Darlington and sophomore Autumn Jacks of Kickapoo/La Farge rounded out the top 10 last year by placing ninth and 10th, respectively. Other runners with State experience may also be among the leaders. Junior Molly Heidorn of Colfax placed fifth in 2019, and senior Abri Brown of Boscobel was seventh that season. Others who could be in contention for a top-10 finish based on their sectional titles last week are senior Daisy Feiten of Colby; freshman Nora Jillson of Boscobel; senior Bailey Peterson of Augusta; sophomore Marah Gruen of Royall, who was 14th at State last year; junior Elsie Kmecak of Catholic Central; sophomore Autumn Michalski of Chequamegon; and freshman Hannah Welch of Valders.

BOYS TEAM NOTES:   This year’s Division 1 field is loaded with teams that placed in the top 10 in the traditional season in 2020 or in the alternate season in the spring of 2021. Last season’s fall champion Oconomowoc returns to defend its title with two runners back from that team, and Stevens Point, the team champion of the alternate season, will contend for a second straight title with three runners on the list of qualifiers that ran last spring. Marquette returns four runners that raced on last year’s squad that placed second, and Sun Prairie qualifies again after a runner-up finish in the alternate season. The Cardinals return three runners from that group. Green Bay Preble and Middleton placed third and fourth in the alternate season, respectively. The Hornets return three participants from their team, and the Cardinals return five. Badger qualifies with four returning runners from a team that placed sixth during the traditional season, and Neenah qualifies with three competitors returning from its seventh-place finish in 2020. Onalaska placed 10th last fall and is back this year with three on the roster that ran on that team. The Division 2 field of teams has only five teams returning that ran at State last year, including four in the fall and one in alternate season. Osceola has qualified this season with five runners that ran to a sixth-place finish in 2020. New Glarus/Monticello was seventh in the alternate season in the spring, and the Glarner Knights return four members of that team to State this season. West Salem was eighth last season. This year, they return four runners from that squad. Northwestern placed 11th, and Winneconne was 12th last fall. The Wolves qualify four of the runners that participated at State, and the Tigers return three runners. Aquinas returns in Division 3 seeking its fourth straight championship. The Blugolds drop back down a division after winning the Division 2 title last year and the Division 3 titles in 2018 and 2019. Their quest for a fourth straight title features the return of three members of last year’s championship squad. Sheboygan Lutheran won the Division 3 championship last season and looks to challenge Aquinas for the title this season. The Crusaders also have three members from last year’s team qualifying this year. Pacelli returns four runners from last year’s third-place team, and Grantsburg qualifies six individuals that led the Pirates to a fourth-place standing a year ago. McDonell Catholic placed eighth last fall and have three runners returning to State this year from that team, and Spring Valley has five runners returning that experienced State last year with its 10th-place finish. Ladysmith ties Grantsburg for the most qualifiers returning this year from teams that also qualified last year with six members that participated on last year’s 11th-place finisher.

BOYS INDIVIDUAL NOTES:  The Division 1 individual competition should be hotly contested. Senior Griffin Ward of Middleton returns as one of the leading contenders for the gold medal after finishing runner-up at the alternate season State championships last spring. Senior Austin Henderson of Neenah should also challenge for the individual title after placing third last fall at the traditional championships. Junior Mateo Venegas of Sun Prairie qualifies this year after placing sixth in the alternate season. Junior Mason Gates of Manitowoc Lincoln and senior Jayden Zywicki of Stoughton placed ninth and 10th, respectively, at the alternate season meet last season. They should compete for a position on the awards stand this week, as may senior Tony Adriansen of Bay Port, who was 11th during the alternate season. Senior Patrick Wills of Waukesha North, who placed 12th last fall, and senior Aidan Manning of Verona, who was 12th in the alternate season could also contend for top-10 finishes. Another former top-10 finisher back at State this year is senior Charlie Wesley of Arrowhead, who placed 10th in 2019. Other contenders for the title following sectional titles last week are junior Owen Bosley of Homestead, senior Demetrius Farmakis of Badger, junior Noah Jahnke of West De Pere, senior Christian Kohr of Marquette, junior Nash Merklein of Hartford, and freshman Manny Putz of Onalaska. In Division 2, eight individuals return after placing in the top 12 last season, including junior Nathan Cumberbatch of Shorewood, who ran to a fourth-place finish in Division 1 last fall. Seniors Drew and Thomas Stephens of University School of Milwaukee finished third and fourth in Division 2, respectively. They expect to contend for the title this year. Junior Eli Boppart of Mauston, senior Isaiah Lubner of Kewaskum and junior Riley Huss of Little Chute are back in pursuit of a title after they finished seventh, eighth and ninth last fall, respectively. Other qualifiers that placed near the top in 2020 include senior Zach Huffman of Deerfield/Cambridge, who was 10th, and senior Alex Metko of Brillion, who placed 12th . Other qualifiers that won their sectionals last week that may be in the running for the State title are senior Conner Hawley of Notre Dame, senior Tyler Loucks of Prescott, sophomore Ethan Onesti of Shawano, junior Joseph Stoddard of Mount Horeb and sophomore Cameron Weiland of Lakeside Lutheran. In Division 3, senior Parker Schneider of Durand is in pursuit of his second straight championship following last year’s gold-medal performance, which was on the heels of a 10th-place finish in 2019. He should expect a challenge for the title from a number of State-experienced racers, including a pair of individuals that drop down into Division 3 from Division 2 this season. Senior Shane Griepentrog of Valders placed sixth last season in Division 2 and eighth in 2019. Senior Nathaniel Osborne of Brookfield Academy was 11th in Division 2 last year after an 11-place finish in Division 3 in 2019 and an 18th-place standing in 2018. Senior Dan Anderson of McDonell Catholic has his sights on improving on last season’s seventh-place finish. Junior Wesley Pronschinske of Cochrane-Fountain City was eighth last season, and senior Will Gerber of Grantsburg was ninth. They are back to contend for a spot on the medal stand as well. Junior Gabe Hoerter of Pacelli fell to 12th last season, but he placed sixth in 2019 and could return to medal contention. Other runners that were sectional champions last week that may finish among the leaders are sophomore Carter Scholey of Belleville, senior Alex Peterson of Gillett and junior Andrew Scheer of Columbus Catholic.

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 3:20 p.m. with the awards presented in the order of the races at the podium to the west of the starting boxes.

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. 30 and running through Sunday, Nov. 7 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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