Pyatskowit, Lohrenz in cross country championships
By Scott Bellile
A Clintonville runner placed the best at the WIAA State Cross Country Championships in her school’s history while a Hortonville runner made her third consecutive state trip last weekend.
Kara Pyatskowit ran for the Clintonville Truckers in the Division 2 race and finished 11th with a time of 19:32. Hannah Lohrenz represented the Hortonville Polar Bears in the Division 1 competition and finished 37th with a time of 19:45.
Both runners said they were disappointed with the outcomes of their races but they were glad to compete at the state level this year.
In fall 2014, Pyatskowit joined cross country near the end of the season because Clintonville needed a fifth runner. She ran a 25-minute 5K and had to walk at one point during the season.
Telling Clintonville coach Jeff Crumbaugh she would never do that again, she trained in the offseason and transformed into a state runner this year.
“She’s driven. She’s goal oriented,” Crumbaugh said. “She sets really high standards for herself and has a work ethic I’ve never seen before.”
Pyatskowit qualified for state after winning the Division 2 Sectional meet in Tomahawk on Oct. 24 with a time of 18:57.
Crumbaugh said Pyatskowit was well prepared at state and started strongly, remaining in the top five at miles one and two. But at the rolling climbs 2.3 miles in, her blood sugar crashed and five girls passed her.
Pyatskowit said she forgot to eat the protein bar that is part of her pre-race routine.
“That’s what racing all about. You don’t always have good days,” Pyatskowit said.
“We expected her to be in the top five, but I’m still very proud of her,” Crumbaugh said.
Crumbaugh said Clintonville has been sending runners to state every year since 2009, including teams on two occasions.
Last fall Allison Johnson finished 16th with a time of 19:31, one second ahead of Pyatskowit’s finish this year. Pyatskowit’s 11th-place finish was the school’s best in terms of placing.
Pyatskowit said she was proud to gain the experience at state because the competitors are strong.
“They put in the time. They’re really awesome,” Pyatskowit said. “Just to run with them was a neat experience to do that. I was happy with the accomplishment to get to state.”
Lohrenz has traveled to state since her freshman season in 2013. In 2013, when the girls ran a 4K, she finished 15th with a time of 14:59. When the girls’ race switched to 5K in 2014, she finished seventh with a time of 18:39.
After winning this year’s Division 1 Sectional meet at Stevens Point in 19:01 on Oct. 24, she qualified for her third state trip. There she finished in 19:45 for 37th place.
“I wish it would have went a little better,” Lohrenz said. “I was hoping to make podium again.”
Hortonville coach Kevin Sours said he first saw Lohrenz at the half-mile mark. He said Lohrenz had thought her pace was uncomfortably fast at the start, when time-wise it turned out she was right where she needed to be. This affected her thinking although she held on for the remainder of the race, he said.
“She should’ve been in the top five by all accounts,” Sours said. “She had one of those days where … she had a bad race, and it happened to be on the biggest stage of the year. All athletes go through that and you learn from it.”
Sours said she’s still a champion and had a great season.
Lohrenz said a runner on the state course knows he or she is physically tough enough, so being mentally tough is the challenge.
Seeing and hearing her teammates cheering her on helped her during the race, she said, and she was happy to make the trip again.
“I’m really proud actually,” Lohrenz said. “I’m glad that I was able to go back consistently every year.”