2018 WIAA State Cross Country Championship Preview

posted by WIAA - 

THE MEET:  The 106th running of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Boys Cross Country Championships and the 45th Annual Girls Cross Country Championships will take place Saturday, Oct. 27, 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 1

12:35 p.m. - Division 3

1:10 p.m. - Division 2 

Girls

1:45 p.m. - Division 1

2:25 p.m. - Division 3

3:05 p.m. - Division 2

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-BOYS:  Middleton won the team championship in Division 1 last season, finishing with a score of 76, which was the lowest winning score since 2011. Stevens Point placed second with a score of 177. Drew Bosley of Homestead won individual honors by covering the 5,000-meter course in 15:39.87. Valders won the Division 2 crown with a score of 60 after placing runner-up in 2016. Dodgeville/Mineral Point was second with 99 points. Kavanaugh FitzPatrick of Lakeland ran to the individual Division 2 title with a time of 15:52.88. Durand won the State Division 3 team championship with a score of 79, 25 points ahead of runner-up Darlington with 104 points. David Vannucchi of Luther won the individual crown for the second consecutive year, finishing with a time of 15:54.83. 

LAST YEAR-GIRLS:  Sun Prairie won the Division 1 girls team title for the second year in a row scoring  a five-runner total of 57. Muskego finished second with a score of 74. Peyton Sippy of Janesville Craig was the individual champion. She covered the 5-kilometer course in 18:01.56. Freedom ran to the team title in Division 2 with a score of 68. Wisconsin Dells finished second, 30 points back with a score of 98. Dana Feyen of Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau successfully defended her crown as the individual champion with a time of 18:39.68 after winning the title in 2016. Dodgeland claimed the Division 3 team championship with a score of 56 with runner-up Lancaster finishing with 97. Marissa Ellenbecker of Edgar won the individual title with a time of 18:56.33. 

BOYS TEAM NOTES:   This year’s Division 1 field contains teams that comprise 11 of last year’s top 20 qualifiers, including six of the top 10. Last season’s champion Middleton returns to the State meet with five runners that ran in last year’s event, and two of which placed in the top 10. Stevens Point has two returning runners after finishing runner-up a year ago. Sun Prairie, which placed fifth, returns four competitors that competed at State last season. Madison West brings back three runners from the squad that placed sixth last season, and both Hamilton and Hudson return four runners from teams that placed eighth and ninth, respectively. Eau Claire Memorial and Slinger both have the most participants returning from last year’s meet with five after finishing 14th and 17th, respectively. Nine of the 16 teams that competed last season and four of the top six return to the team competition this year in Division 2. Defending champion Valders attempts to retain its perch on top of the division with three returning runners that raced at State last season. Three teams appear poised to challenge for the team title based on the most returning experience. McFarland, East Troy and St. Croix Central each have six of the seven runners that competed at State last year returning to the meet this season. Those teams finished sixth, 11th and 16th last year, respectively. Notre Dame and La Crosse Logan placed fourth and fifth, respectively, last season, and both squads have four returning runners. Seven of the top 10 teams in Division 3 last season have qualified this season. Darlington, which had its string of six straight championships snapped with a runner-up finish last year, returns this year with four runners that competed at State last season. Luther, which placed eighth last year, has the most experience returning this season with six participants that competed at State last season. Lake Country Lutheran, McDonell Catholic, Brillion and Assumption each have five runners returning to the field after placing fifth, sixth, seventh and 10th, collectively, last year. Rosholt finished third a year ago and returns with three runners from that squad.

BOYS INDIVIDUAL NOTES:  Senior Drew Bosley of Homestead is the top returning individual champion in Division 1. In addition to last year’s title, he was runner-up in 2016 and seventh in 2015. Other competitors returning to this year’s field from last season’s top 10 are senior Rowen Ellenberg of Kimberly, who was third after placing ninth in 2016; senior Matthew Meinke of Neenah, who placed fourth; junior Ben Schnoor of Germantown, who was sixth; and seniors Caleb Easton and Michael Madoch of Middleton, who were eighth and 10th, respectively. Other possible contenders based on their sectional titles earned last week are seniors Aidan Sodemann of South Milwaukee and Elijah DeVries of Arrowhead; junior Trey Meier of Kenosha Indian Trail; and sophomores Bryan Bloomquist of Janesville Craig, Jack Scherer of Oshkosh North and Scout Stokes of Eau Claire Memorial. In Division 2, sophomore Charlie McKinney of West Salem is the top returning individual and the only returning finisher that placed within the top 10 last year, finishing eighth. Other potential contenders for the individual title based on their sectional performances are seniors Andrew Pahnke of McFarland, who placed 12th last year, Charlie Sauter of Notre Dame, Cole Michaelsen of Bloomer, Henry Chapman of East Troy and Tyler Jones of Portage; juniors Lucas Florsheim of Shorewood and Zack Slevin of La Crosse Logan; and freshman Jesse Wilson of Clintonville. In Division 3, senior David Vannucchi of Luther is the two-time defending champion in pursuit of his third title. He also finished 13th as a freshman in 2015.  Three other returning runners, who finished in the top 10, include senior Adam Rzentkowski of Rosholt, who was runner-up last year and fourth in 2016; senior Isaac Wegner of Durand, who finished third last year and 28th in 2016; and senior Payton Heinberg of Darlington, who was sixth a year ago after running to a third-place finish in 2016 and 16th in 2015. Other possible challengers for the individual crown after their performances in the sectionals last week are senior Alex Mielke of Lake Country Lutheran, who placed 13th last year and 15th in 2016; juniors Trevor Lamirande of St. Croix Falls, Matthew Marcinske of Birchwood, and Gunner Schlender of Brillion, who was 11th last year and 13th in 2016; Schlender’s sophomore teammate Hunter Krepline, who was 19th last year, and sophomore Josh Waller of Oconto.

GIRLS TEAM NOTES:  Each of the top six teams and nine of the top-10 teams at last year’s State meet have qualified in the Division 1 field this year, including two-time defending champion Sun Prairie. The Cardinals attempt to win three in a row with their top four runners returning from the 2017 title team. Muskego finished runner-up last year, and the Warriors appear ready to make an assault on the team title with six returning runners, including two in the top four. Onalaska and Hudson also have six runners returning to the field after the they finished third and sixth, respectively, a year ago. Waukesha West has five returning participants from a team that finished fifth last year, and Janesville Craig has four runners returning from its fourth-place team. Divine Savior Holy Angels and Madison West also have four runners returning from teams that placed seventh and ninth, respectively. Stevens Point has a trio of runners back off its 10th-place team. The Division 2 field features five of the teams finishing in the top 10 last year, including defending champion Freedom. The Irish return five runners from last year’s squad that ran to the title. Wisconsin Dells returns three competitors from the team that was runner-up a year ago, and Lake Mills has five returning from its third-place team last season, as does Lakeland, which finished ninth. Jefferson finished fourth last year, and they return four runners to the meet this season, and Grafton has the distinction of having the most runners back from last year’s meet with six that helped the Black Hawks to an 11th-place standing. In Division 3, 12 of the 16 teams in this year’s field are back from last season, including defending champion Dodgeland, which appears loaded for a run at back-to-back titles. The Trojans have six runners back from the squad that ran to the championship last season, which ties them with Weyauwega-Fremont, which placed 16th last season, for the distinction of having the most returning runners in the division. Lancaster has three of last year’s runner-up squad returning to the meet, and Marshall, who was third a year ago, has five returning runners, as does Bonduel and Cashton after placing seventh and 10th last year, respectively. Auburndale has four returning competitors from last year’s fourth-place team, and Glenwood City has just a pair of returnees from its ninth-place team of a year ago.

GIRLS INDIVIDUAL NOTES:  There are six returning runners in Division 1 that finished within the top 10 in 2017. Sophomore Kate Sperka of Muskego is the top returning individual finisher from last year’s championships.  She was runner-up in her first State appearance. Her teammate, senior Kate Jochims was fourth last season after placing third in 2016 and 10th in 2015. Junior Autumn Dushack of Sun Prairie was seventh last year following a ninth-place finish in 2016. Sophomore Anna Fauske of Kaukauna returns attempting to improve on the eighth-place finish from a year ago, and senior Kylee Wunschel of Menomonee Falls is back after placing ninth last season. Senior Brooke Jaworski of Wausau West, a multi-champion in track, returns after finishing 10th in 2017. Other potential challengers based on their State experience or sectional performances last week are senior Isabel Seay of Hamilton; sophomores Julia Neustedter of Brookfield Central, Kate Kopotic of Sun Prairie, who finished 12th last season, and Kora Malacek of Onalaska, who was 11th last year; and freshmen Riley Collett of Fond du Lac, Genevieve Nashold of Madison West and Roisin Willis of Stevens Point. In Division 2, seven of the top-10 finishers last season return to the field this season led by senior Dana Feyen of Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau, who has won the individual championship the last two years after finishing runner-up in 2015. Junior Laura Beghin of Wisconsin Dells is back to contend for the title after finishing runner-up to Feyen in each of her first two seasons. Another junior, Annie Higgins of Xavier, is back after placing third a year ago and fourth in 2016. Senior Leah Kralovetz of Denmark returns following last season when she came in fifth, and senior Mariah Linse of Jefferson returns coming off a sixth-place finish last year. Other top-10 finishers last year back to challenge for the title include senior Lindsay Grams of Little Chute, who placed seventh, and sophomore Jordan Koepke of Martin Luther, who finished 10th last season. Other contenders that may possibly challenge for the individual championship based on sectional results are seniors Julia Wille of Grafton and Marie Hamlin of St. Croix Central; junior Ashley Peterson of Lakeland; and freshmen Bella Lozier of Shorewood, Kayci Martensen of Southwestern/Benton/Cuba City and Anna Gallagher of Two Rivers. Six of the top eight individual finishers from last year’s meet return for another run at the title in Division 3. Junior Marissa Ellenbecker of Edgar returns to the State meet after running to the State title last season following a third-place finish in 2016. Senior Lydia Murphy of Lancaster should again contend for the individual championship this season after placing runner-up the past two seasons and seventh in 2015. Gillett sophomore Sylvia Hansen raced to a third-place finish as a freshman last season and is back as one of the challengers to win the title this season. The same is true for Kara Troxel, a sophomore from Bonduel, who capped her freshman campaign with a fifth-place finish at State last year.  Other top-10 finishers from a year ago that could contend for the individual title are seniors Meygan Benzing of Dodgeland, who fell to sixth last season after placing fourth in 2016, and Rachel Lawton of Flambeau, who was eighth last year. Others who could be in contention for the title based on their sectional performances are sophomore Olivia Stenzel of Sevastopol and freshmen Abby Bartel of Weyauwega-Fremont, Lana Blumer of Chetek-Weyerhaeuser and  Anelise Egge of Kickapoo/La Farge.

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://pttiming.com/events/87931101.

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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