W-F girls finish 16th
By Greg Seubert
It wasn’t her best finish at state, but that didn’t matter to Erika Kisting.
The Iola-Scandinavia High School senior had just placed fourth in the girls’ Division 3 race Oct. 28 at the WIAA State Cross Country Championships in Wisconsin Rapids. Although it wasn’t as high as her third-place finish two years ago, Kisting couldn’t imagine being anywhere else than at the finish line at The Ridges Golf Course.
“I’m going to take it with me the rest of my life,” she said after turning in a time of 19:38.19 in her fourth trip to the state meet. “It’s just a pleasure to be here. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else right now.”
The race’s 151 runners included 16 teams and 40 individual qualifiers.
Kisting was the race’s only individual qualifier out of the Central Wisconsin Conference, but the CWC had three teams in the race, including Weyauwega-Fremont.
The Indians were back at state as a team for the first time since 1994. W-F ended up placing 16th, while the two other CWC teams, Bonduel and Rosholt, finished seventh and 14th, respectively.
Edgar’s Marissa Ellenbecker won the girls’ D3 race in 18:56.33, while Lancaster’s Lydia Murphy and Gillett’s Sylvia Hansen also crossed the finish line ahead of Kisting.
“We had some great competitors today, so I’m happy with where I am right now,” said Kisting, who also placed seventh last year and 20th three years ago as a freshman. “On my way here, everyone was congratulating me. This is my last year and I’ve been here every single year. You can always improve, but today, I just told myself, ‘Go out there, last race, give it all you have.’”
Kisting said a brisk wind affected her early in the race.
“I had at least six layers (of clothes) on before I started,” she said. “I was a little shocked, but once you start running, your body starts warming up and the adrenaline kicks in. You don’t really notice it until the end.
“I’ve been working so hard this year battling some issues with my feet and my ankles,” she added. “To say that I’ve been here all four years and got in the top four, it’s just something that you have to be thankful for because not a lot of people can say that.”
W-F’s team included three sophomores and four juniors. Allison Halat led the Indians by placing 74th in 21:54. Other places and times were Kaitlyn Monty (86th, 22:12.11); Natalie Schneider (97th, 22:25.87); Katie Bleck (126th, 23:33.91); Rylee Bartel (142nd, 24:09.51); Saylor Alberts (143rd, 24:19.31); and Mikyla Reeck (150th, 25:32.04).
All seven runners will be back next season for coach Nick Winn.
“Everybody is a sophomore or a junior and I have a handful of freshmen,” he said. “We’re all back next year. I’m not looking too far past this year yet, but it’s hard not to with all the talent we have coming up from the middle school as well.”
The Indians advanced to state by placing second Oct. 21 at a sectional meet in Westfield.
“They dug down, they found something inside,” Winn said. “They’re so motivated. This is one of the best groups I’ve ever had for their own internal motivation. They just did it on their own.”
Once the season started, Winn noticed his runners’ times starting to drop.
“Probably about halfway through the season, their PRs started dropping pretty heavily,” he said. “I started looking around at stats all over the place and we were very comparable with a lot of good teams.”
I-S and W-F also had individuals in the boys’ D3 race.
Joe Makovec placed 22nd for Iola-Scandinavia in 17:12.03, while W-F’s Patrick Long finished 84th in 18:16.84.
“I’ve always known he was something special,” Winn said of Long, a sophomore. “Last year at the sectional meet was the first time he led our group and ended up 24th. This year, he was fifth. The talk I had with him was, ‘You’re probably going to be about 20th unless you do this and this.’ He found a way and really surprised me.”
The CWC also had three boys’ teams in the Division 3 race.
Rosholt placed third, Amherst finished 12 and Bonduel ended up 15th.
Places and times for Amherst were Cole McKenzie (40th, 17:30.27); Adam Wise (50th, 17:41.99); Sawyer Eiden (96th, 18:29.25); David Rieck (107th, 18:47.19); Trent Miller (138th, 19:37.82); Robert Johannes (150th, 21:24.97); and Trevor Carlson (151st, 21:41.04).
The state meet included 982 runners in six races. That fact was not lost on Winn.
“I made sure to let them know they are among a special, elite class of Wisconsin runners,” he said.