Stevens Point (OnFocus) -The Wisconsin State Cross Country Championships will look much different in 2020 than in any other time in the history of the WIAA. Instead of the meet being held at The Ridges golf course in Wisconsin Rapids, the meet is now broken up by divisions.
Division 1: Arrowhead High School
Division 2: Colby High School
Division 3: Maple Grove Venues, West Salem
Check back with OnFocus as we break down each division and highlight area runners competing at state
THE MEETS: The 108th running of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Boys Cross Country Championships and the 47th Annual Girls Cross Country Championships will take place Saturday, Oct. 31. Ticket price for the meet is $9, and admission is subject to venue and crowd restrictions.
RACES FORMAT: Following the direction of doctors on the WIAA Sports Medical Advisory Committee, a revised format was designed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The boys and girls Division 1 championships will be held at Arrowhead H.S. in Hartland, Wis. The Division 2 meets will be held at Colby H.S., and the Division 3 races will be held at Maple Grove Venues in West Salem, Wis. Both genders will run a 5,000-meter course. There will be three sessions including team and individual participants for each gender. Times from each session will be combined to determine the overall placements. Team and individual race assignments will be posted on the WIAA website. The following is a listing of the scheduled start times for each race at each site:
9:30 a.m. – Girls Race
10:10 a.m. – Boys Race
12:30 p.m. – Girls Race
1:10 p.m. – Boys Race
3:30 p.m. – Girls Race
4:10 p.m. – Boys Race
HOW THEY GOT HERE: There is a reduced field with the accommodations for mitigating the risks of exposure to COVID-19. There are 12 teams contending for the State championship in Division 1 for boys and girls, down from the traditional 20 teams, and also 12 teams competing for the boys and girls Divisions 2 and 3 team titles, which is four less than the 16 in typical years. Teams competing for the titles qualified last weekend at their respective sectional meets. The top two teams in each of the six 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: Muskego won the Division 1 State girls team title for the second straight season after placing runner-up in 2017. The Warriors scored a five-runner total of 72. Onalaska finished second with a score of 111. Kora Malecek of Onalaska was the individual champion. She covered the 5-kilometer course in 17:44.6. Shorewood ran to the team title in Division 2 with a score of 61, and Osceola finished second with a score of 102. Kayci Martensen of Southwestern/Benton/Cuba City captured the crown as the individual champion with a time of 18:19.9. Lourdes Academy claimed the Division 3 team championship. The Knights posted a five-runner score of 112. Gillett was second, finishing 14 points behind the winner with a score of 126. Abby Bartel of Weyauwega-Fremont raced to the individual title with a time of 18:52.9.
LAST YEAR-BOYS: Middleton won the team championship in Division 1 last season after a runner-up finish in 2018. The Cardinals compiled a five-runner score of 104. Stevens Point was second at 116. Jake Krause of Hortonville won the individual gold medal by covering the 5,000-meter course in 15:34.2. Valders won its third consecutive Division 2 crown. The Vikings retained the title with a score of 78. Notre Dame was runner-up for the second consecutive season, finishing with 108 points. Lucas Florsheim of Shorewood ran to the individual championship in Division 2 with a time of 15:58.8. For the second year in a row, Aquinas was the State team champion in Division 3. The Blugolds finished with a score of 68, which was 28 points ahead of runner-up Brillion with 96 points. Christian Patzka of Wisconsin Heights/Barneveld was the individual champion with a time of 16:08.7.
GIRLS DIVISION 1 NOTES: The reduced field of teams and competitors has six teams and 11 individuals returning after finishes in the top 20 last year. Most notably, Muskego returns in pursuit of its third straight title. The Warriors should be considered a strong contender for another title, returning six of the seven runners that participated in the meet last year. Each of those returners finished in the top 62. Last year’s runner-up Onalaska is back to challenge for the team title with all seven of the runners from last year’s team returning to the meet, including three that finished in the top 20. Whitefish Bay has three returning runners from its seventh-place team last year, and Homestead returns five from an 11th-place finish. Other returning top-20 teams from a year ago are Kimberly, which has four participants returning from a 14th-place finish in 2019, and Slinger, which has five returners back from its 18th-place standing. Individually, Senior Kora Malecek of Onalaska is the returning Division 1 champion. The four-time qualifier has also finished fifth in 2018 and 11th in 2017. Senior Kate Sperka of Muskego looks to challenge her for the top spot after a fourth-place finish last season to go with runner-up finishes in 2018 and 2017. Senior Molly Desotell of Notre Dame, who moves up a Division this year, could also challenge for the title. She placed third in Division 3 last season, 14th in 2018 and 12th in 2017. Another experienced contender is senior Brooke Edwardson of Kimberly. She placed sixth a year ago after coming in third in 2018 and 15th in 2017. Senior Anna Fauske of Kaukauna rebounded from placing 97th in 2018 with a ninth-place finish last year. She ran to an eighth-place finish her freshman season. Other returning runners finishing in the top 20 in 2019 with sights on challenging the leaders are senior Leane Willemse of Homestead, who was 11th last year and 17th in 2018; junior Isabella Ross of Oak Creek, who placed 13th a year ago; junior Rachel Helm of Muskego who was 14th last season; senior Julia Neustedter of Brookfield Central, who was 15th last year following a 23rd-place standing in 2018; and seniors Lydia and Amalia Malecek of Onalaska, who were 18th and 20th last year, respectively.
GIRLS DIVISION 2 NOTES: The reduced field of teams and competitors has six teams that qualified and competed last season and 12 individuals returning after finishes in the top 20. Osceola is the top returning team after a runner-up finish a year ago. The Chieftains return four runners from last year’s State-qualifying team. Freedom placed third last season, second in 2018 and won back-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017. The Irish return five participants that ran in the State meet last season. Winneconne returns four runners from the team that placed sixth last season, and Tomahawk and Lake Mills return with four competitors from teams that placed ninth and 10th, respectively. The only other top-20 team from last season’s championships returning to the field this year is Kewaskum, which has three runners back for the team that placed 15th. Individually, junior Kayci Martensen of Southwestern/Benton/Cuba City is seeking a second straight crown in addition to her third-place finish in 2018. She should expect a challenge from junior Anna Gallagher of Two Rivers, who was runner-up to Martensen last season coming off a fifth-place finish in 2018. Four others finishing within the top nine a year ago that should contend for medals this year are sophomore Rachel Ulrich of Osceola, who was fifth last year; junior Jessica Wilson of Little Chute, who was sixth; sophomore Mikaela Helling of Two Rivers, who was seventh; and sophomore Kaitlyn Carlson of St. Croix Central, who placed ninth. The remaining top-20 finishers last year returning this year are sophomore Mya Hartjes of University School of Milwaukee, who was 11th; senior Savannah Schley of Loyal/Greenwood, who moves up a division following a 12th-place run in Division 3 last season and a 15th-place finish in 2018; senior Mya Kizer of St. Croix Central, who was 14th; sophomore Joey Perry of Winneconne, who was 18th; and junior Sophie Moravec of Martin Luther, who was 19th last year and 18th in 2018; and senior Elle Erato of Catholic Memorial, who was 20th.
DIVISION 3 GIRLS NOTES: The reduced field of teams and competitors has seven teams that competed last season and nine individuals returning to State this year after finishes in the top 20 last year. Gillett is the top returning team from last year’s meet, capturing the silver trophy. The Tigers return five runners in their quest for the State title. Auburndale also appears poised for a run at the team title with five returning runners back from the team that placed third a year ago and was runner-up in 2018. Lancaster is also expected to be in the mix for the title. The Arrows have six returning runners from the squad that placed fifth last season, including two individuals that placed in the top 20. Ozaukee returns four runners following its seventh-place standing in 2019, as does Durand after finishing eighth. The remaining two teams that also qualified last year are Cameron and Catholic Central, who finished 14th and 15th, respectively. Both those squads appear to be loaded to improve this year with each returning six of the seven runners that ran in last year’s State meet. Junior Abby Bartel of Weyauwega-Fremont is back to defend the individual title she won last season. In addition she ran to an 11th-place finish as a freshman in 2018. Sophomore Molly Heidorn of Colfax placed fifth last year, and junior Anelise Egge of Kickapoo/La Farge was sixth last season to improve on her eighth-place finish in 2018. Junior Lana Blumer of Chetek-Weyerhaeuser placed eighth in 2019, and senior teammate Natalie Poppe finished 15th. Junior Bridee Burks of Lancaster finished just out of the top 10 last year at 11th, and senior teammate Kristin Muench placed 18th. Sophomore Claudia Lasiowski of Chequamegon finished 14th last season; and junior Madison Sand of Durand seeks to return to the success she experienced in 2018 with a third-place finish. She fell to 16th last year. Two seniors also look to return to past form. Sylvia Hansen of Gillett attempts to return to title contention after racing to a third-place finish in 2017, and senior Helen Carstens of North Crawford was 47th last year after placing sixth in 2018 and 12th in 2017. Senior Bella Simmons of Glenwood City rounds out the group finishing within the top 20 last season, placing 19th.
DIVISION 1 BOYS NOTES: The reduced field of teams and competitors has four teams and six individuals returning after finishes in the top 20 last year. Oconomowoc is the highest finishing team returning to the field this season with a fifth-place finish in 2019 on the heels of a sixth-place finish in 2018. The Raccoons return three runners from that squad. Slinger returns five participants from the team that placed 13th last season, and Kenosha Indian Trail has three returners from a team that was 14th. The only other team that qualified last season returning to the field this year is New Richmond, which returns five runners from the team that placed 17th. Senior Cael Grotenhuis of Slinger has the distinction of being the top returning individual performer at last year’s State meet with his runner-up finish. Senior Joshua Truchon of West Allis Hale is back in the field after placing fourth last season and just missing cracking the top 20 in 2018, placing 21st. Senior Nolan Richey of Kimberly also has sights on contending for the individual title after a sixth-place result a year ago. Senior Nathan Baker of Grafton moves up a division after placing 10th in Division 2 last year. The only other two runners back after placing in the top 20 last year are senior Gavin Czarnecki of Beaver Dam, who was 15th, and senior Niko Martinez-Ortiz, who was 16th.
DIVISION 2 BOYS NOTES: The reduced field of teams and competitors has four teams that participated in the State meet last season, including two team champions, and 11 individuals returning following finishes in the top 16 last year. Three-time champion Valders is back in pursuit of its fourth consecutive team championship with three returning runners that helped secure the crown last year, including two individuals that placed in the top 14. Aquinas was the team champion in Division 3 the past two seasons. The Blugolds move up to challenge for the Division 2 title with five returning runners from last year’s squad. Freedom moved up to third in the team standings last season after an 11th-place finish in 2018. They return five runners attempting to be among the challengers for the team title. Deerfield/Cambridge and Winneconne finished ninth and 10th last year, respectively. They both return four runners to the meet this season. Osceola finished 13th a year ago, and the Chieftains enter the meet with three runners that competed in last year’s meet. The race for the individual title in Division 2 may be hotly contested. Senior Leo Richardson of Edgewood is back for another shot at the championship. He is the top returning runner from last year’s meet after finishing runner-up. Also joining the field this year is the third- and fourth-place finishers in Division 3 last season. Hunter Krepline of Brillion moves up after finishing third in 2019, ninth in 2018 and 19th in 2017. Senior Andrew Skemp of Aquinas was fourth a year ago in Division 3. Other returning runners expected to be among the leaders after finishing in the top 10 in Division 2 last year are junior Shane Griepentrog of Valders, who was eighth, and Senior Jack Reiter of Freedom, who was ninth. Also looking to move up in the results are seniors Jakob Eggen of St. Croix Central and Brady Niemeier of West Salem, who placed 11th and 12th last year, respectively. Junior Nathaniel Osborne of Brookfield Academy moves up from Division 3 to challenge for a top-10 position after placing 11th last season and 18th in 2018. Three other placers within the top 20 last year in Division 2 are back for another opportunity to compete at State. They include junior Clay Taylor of Valders, who was 14th last year and 21st in 2018; junior Zach Huffman of Deerfield/Cambridge, who was 15th; and junior Drew Stephens of University School of Milwaukee, who was 17th. Senior Charlie McKinney of West Salem has qualified for the fourth straight season hoping to return to the success he had with an eighth-place finish in 2017.
DIVISION 3 BOYS NOTES: The reduced field of teams and competitors has only two teams that competed last season and six individuals returning to State this year with finishes in the top 20 last year. With Pacelli’s fifth-place finish last year, the Cardinals are the top returning qualifying team in the meet. They look to move up in the team standings with four returning runners that gained experience at State last year. McDonell Catholic returns four runners from a team that placed ninth last season, Individually, sophomore Gabe Hoerter of Pacelli is the top returning performer after finishing sixth a year ago. Junior Parker Schneider of Durand is back to contend for the individual title after placing seventh in 2019 and 23rd in 2018. Senior Jarret Carpenter of Cashton hopes to continue his career progression to run among the leaders this year after finishing ninth last year and 16th in 2018. Other finishers in the top 20 last year looking to be among the frontrunners this week are senior Nick Connolly of Iowa-Grant, who was 14th; junior Dan Anderson of McDonell Catholic, who was 15th; and senior Owen Jones of New Lisbon, who placed 18th.
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 boys or girls cross country tournament home pages.
ORDER STATE MEET APPAREL ONLINE: WIAA licensed apparel is available online for the 2020 State Boys and Girls Cross Country Championships. To browse and purchase branded merchandise, visit the WIAA Store at: https://wiaa-state-cross-country-2020.itemorder.com/sale. Online purchases will be shipped after the online store closes on Thursday, Nov. 5.
STATE SOUVENIR PROGRAMS ONLINE: The souvenir programs for the 2020 fall State culminating events are available online and available to download and print at no cost. The complete State Boys and Girls State Cross Country program with rosters of qualifiers, history and schedule information can be accessed at: https://www.wiaawi.org/Portals/0/PDF/Publications/Programs/2020crosscountry.pdf.
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.
Check back with OnFocus as we break down each division and highlight area runners competing at state
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