This year’s WIAA State Cross Country Meet will have plenty of local flavor, as six runners from four area schools will compete this weekend.
Iola-Scandinavia qualified three runners – freshman Erika Kisting, sophomore Leighten Fischer and senior Chase Przybylski – out of the Division 3 Amherst Sectional, held Oct. 25 at Standing Rocks County Park, while Amherst junior Alyssa Niggemann and Marion sophomore Delaney Greene-Grezinger are also moving on.
Meanwhile, Clintonville is sending seniors Allison Johnson and Jessica Petruzates based on their finish Oct. 25 at the Division 2 Tomahawk Sectional at Edgewater Country Club.
The state meet will be held Saturday, Nov. 1, at the Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids.
Division 3 Amherst Sectional
AMHERST – Kisting and Fischer helped the Thunderbird girls’ team place fourth. Kisting placed seventh in 20:34, while Fischer was 10th in 20:53 in the girls’ race. Przybylski placed fourth in 17:32 as the T-Bird boys finished 11th.
“I think it is absolutely incredible that we have three individuals going to the WIAA State Cross Country Meet,” I-S coach Johnathan Turba. “I am so proud of these athletes. They have worked hard all season and it’s great to see that goal realized.
“Erika and Leighten have been running together almost this entire season,” he said. “It has been exciting to see them work together pushing each other to new times while also supporting one another on and off the course. It’s fun as a coach to see two top runners running side-by-side at races and it’s intimidating for other teams to see a duo like these two near the front of races.”
“It was a hard race,” Kisting said. “I knew if I kept trying and pushing, I could do it.”
Fischer is returning to state after qualifying last year as a freshman and placing 29th out of 151 runners.
“It feels great,” she said. “There was a lot of good competition this year. I am glad to be going back.”
Przybylski is heading to state for the first time.
“Chase came in this season with a phenomenal running base,” Turba said. “He put in the time this summer and it showed in his races throughout the entire season. Chase showed grit, determination and intelligence, using smaller goals to help him reach his larger goals; running a sub-18 minute 5K and qualifying for state.”
“My motto this year was chasing the dream and I got it,” Przybylski said. “My time was 6 seconds less than the best time I have ever had. It is not about meeting goals, it’s about crushing them.”
Turba is quick to point out that all three are standout athletes.
“I am so thankful to have the chance to coach these exceptional students,” he said. “Cross country is a unique sport in many ways, but particularly in how it challenges athletes to focus on individual improvement still within the greater context of a team. The close-knit, team mentality that the I-S cross country teams have speaks highly of the character of these student-athletes.”
Niggemann will be looking to improve on her sixth-place finish at state last year. She placed third in 20:06 to help the Amherst girls place third behind Lourdes Academy and Rosholt.
Greene-Gretzinger had the top finish of all area runners, as she finished second in 19:13. The Marion girls placed seventh overall.
Also placing for the I-S girls were Shelby Trzebiatowski (16th, 21:30); Natalie Rustad (49th, 25:24); Emily Madson (57th, 25:56); Ariana Garton (59th, 26:14); and Mia Wandtke (64th, 27:22). Also placing for the T-Bird boys were Michael Schaefer (65th, 21:28); Tyler Huffman (77th, 22:40); Sam Jarosh (81st, 23:14); Ian Thurston (86th, 24:25); Alec Lund (87th, 24:27); and Trenton Niemi (92nd, 26:35).
Runners from Manawa and Weyauwega-Fremont also competed at the meet.
The Manawa girls placed ninth. Runners included Lexi Smiles (52nd, 25:31); Jody Wentworth (54th, 25:39); Brooke Schernecker (67th, 27:58); Briana Severson (72nd, 28:55); Allison Bristol (75th, 30:34); and Josie Claussen (76th, 31:16). Placing for the Manawa boys were Andrew Scheller (33rd, 19:35); Jared Zielke (41st, 19:44); Daryn Claussen (75th, 22:37); and Brad Grimm (82nd, 23:57).
Weyauwega-Fremont sent five runners to the sectional. Marlen Leyva (34th, 24:09) and Emily Durrant (65th, 27:28) ran in the girls’ race, while Nic Leach (70th, 22:10), Glenn Walborn (76th, 22:37) and Jeffrey Lehman (84th, 24:21) ran for the boys.
Rosholt and Wisconsin Rapids advanced full teams on the boys’ side, while Lourdes Academy and Rosholt are moving on for the girls.
Division 2 Tomahawk Sectional
TOMAHAWK – Johnson and Petruzates are returning to state after competing with Clintonville’s girls’ team that placed 14th last year.
Both runners placed in the top six at Tomahawk, as Johnson took fourth in 19:45 and Petruzates sixth in 20:01. The Truckers finished seventh in the girls’ competition and other runners were Kara Pyatskowit (41st, 22:17), Bethany Klemp (53rd, 22:32) and Alexis Ogurke (54th, 22:39).
The Clintonville boys placed 11th and runners were Thomas Miller (16th, 17:30); Trent Marheine (37th, 18:14); Joshua Schroeder (65th, 19:16); Jarren Vanman (76th, 19:45); Cole Cotherman (80th, 19:57); and Tim Jerabek (89th, 20:56).
The Waupaca boys placed seventh. Mitchell Rotta led the Comets by placing 14th in 17:23, followed by Ryan Weise (27th, 17:51); Hunter Smith (45th, 18:29); Parker Sweeney (52nd, 18:42); Erick Bolwerk (54th, 18:45); Ben Waitrovich (71st, 19:34); and Ryan Esch (73rd, 19:35).
Michelle Petkovsek placed 12th for the Comet girls, as Waupaca placed 13th. Also finishing were Victoria Nowak (47th, 22:25); Mya Snyder (55th, 22:40); Alisa Blank (77th, 23:38); Ashley Jeske (80th, 23:45); Kristen Petkovsek (82nd, 23:46); and Sophie Sicchio (84th, 23:47).
Lakeland and Oconto Falls qualified boys’ teams for state, while a pair of Eastern Valley Conference teams – Freedom and Fox Valley Lutheran – finished first and second, respectively, on the girls’ side.
Race times for the boys are Division 3, 11:30 a.m.; Division 2, 12:10 p.m.; and Division 1, 12:50 p.m. Race times for the girls are Division 3, 1:30 p.m.; Division 2, 2:10 p.m.; and Division 1, 2:50 p.m.