Several area runners in WIAA State Cross Country Meet

For three WIAA Division 3 State Cross Country Meets Fall Creek runner Jenna Anders has run alone.

But this year she'll have a teammate with her as fellow FCHS senior Megan Johnston will join her in Saturday's D-3 race which begins at noon at The Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids.

Johnston placed eighth in the WIAA Division 3 Cadott Sectional meet last weekend at Whispering Pines Golf Course in 21:14. Anders came in 10th at 21:35. Usually the list of individual qualifiers that make it to state doesn't go that deep in the race standings and as team Fall Creek failed to make the top two cut by taking third out of 22 teams entered. But since the top teams, Eau Claire Regis and Colfax, placed five runners combined in the top 10, both Johnston and Anders were able to make it to state along with sectional runner-up Lauren Peterson of Durand (20:03) third place finisher, Thorp/Gilman's Shaylie Zarza (20:09) and fifth place finisher Ann Boland of Unity (20:39).

Anders placed sixth in 2020 and 34th last season,

Area runners joining this ground from last weekend's Osseo-Fairchild Sectional Meet held at Osseo Golf Course are Mondovi's Landon Clark (16:25) and Courtney Stadler (19:30), both of whom finished second in their individual races and sectional champ Wes Pronschinske of Cochrane-Fountain City (15:59). The C-FC girls won the sectional title over three ranked opponents with 50 points led by sectional individual champion freshman Addy Duellman (19:04); runner-up Reece Ehrat (19:35) and fifth place finisher Breilynn Halverson 20:22.4; Ana Knecht, 17th 10 21:30.4; 25th Emma Mann 22:12.3; 30th Bailey Pronschinske 9 22:32.4 and 58th Ella Arneson 25:43.1.

In 2021, Boscobel won the team gold medal in Division 3 in girls with a team score of 71 points, which was 37 points fewer than runner-up Valders with 108. Elsie Kmecak of Burlington Catholic Central won the individual title in Division 3 with a time of 19:47.7. In the 2021 boys' D-3 Meet, Valders won the boys' team title by compiling 78 points, which was seven fewer than runner-up Grantsburg, which finished with 85. Shane Griepentrog of Valders won the Division 3 boys individual crown with a time of 15:38.6.

For this year's D-3 girls' meet, six of the top 10 teams in last year’s results are back for another run at the title, including defending champion Boscobel. The five others include runner-up Valders, Oshkosh Lourdes (3rd) Kickapoo/La Farge (4th), Lancaster (6th) and Wisconsin Rapids Assumption (10th). The competition for the title should be hotly contested. Boscobel has five runners back from the championship squad, and both Valders and Lourdes has all seven of their runners back in the meet this year. Kickapoo/La Farge has four returning runners; Lancaster has three; and Assumption has two. Division 3 defending champion, senior Elsie Kmecak of Burlington Catholic Central, is one of seven runners that placed in the top 10 last season returning to this year’s race. Her stiffest challenges for a repeat title could come from junior Autumn Michalski of Chequamegon, who placed third last year, or sophomore Hannah Welch of Valders, who was fourth. Sophomore Nora Jillson of Boscobel should also be considered a contender after placing sixth a year ago, as should junior Marah Gruen of Royall, who was seventh after a 14th-place performance in 2020. Junior Halle Van Horn of Random Lake may also be among the leaders after placing ninth last year, which came on the heels of a runner-up finish in 2020. In addition, senior Ann Boland of Unity seeks to improve on her 10th-place standing in 2021. Other runners that have had past success in the medal chase are and junior Autumn Jacks of Kickapoo/La Farge, who placed 44th in 2021 after finishing 10th two years ago. Other runners with State experience may also be among the leaders. Senior and sectional champion Molly Heidorn of Colfax is a four-time qualifier. She placed 19th a year ago after finishing fourth in 2020 and fifth in 2019. Another group of qualifiers who could be in contention for a top-10 finish based on their sectional titles last week are freshmen Lucy Dolan of Assumption, Addy Duellman of Cochrane-Fountain City and Addison May of Crandon; and sophomore Erin Moore of Lourdes.

Defending D-3 boys' champion Valders has qualified seeking a second consecutive Division 3 title. There are only three other teams that have qualified this season that placed in the top 10 last year, including Ozaukee (3rd), Stevens Point Pacelli (7th) and LaCrosse Aquinas (8th). The race for the team championship could be wide open with Valders and Aquinas returning only two participants that competed at State last year. Ozaukee and Pacelli looks to improve on last year’s performance with five runners back that experienced State a year ago. The race for the individual crown in Division 3 features three top-10 finishers returning from last year’s championships. Senior Wesley Pronschinske of Cochrane-Fountain City is the presumed frontrunner for the title after moving up to fifth last year following an eighth-place performance in 2020. However, junior Carter Scholey of Belleville could challenge for the title as well following last year’s eighth-place finish. Senior Alex Peterson of Gillett looks to improve on last season’s 10th-place result to vie for a position on the award stand this season. Senior Gabe Hoerter of Pacelli hopes to regain the form that paced him to a sixth-place finish in 2019. Subsequently, he was 12th in 2020 and 47th a year ago. Other runners that were sectional champions last week, including a few with top-20 finishes last year, that may finish among the leaders are senior Davis Behler of Kohler, who finished 20th last year; Owen Klaus of Ozaukee, who was 11th last season; sophomore Gavin Stewart of Ladysmith; junior Charlie Vater of Iola-Scandinavia, who was 17th in 2021; and senior JJ Williams of Glenwood City, who was 12th a year ago.

The girls D-3 meet begins at noon while the boys' D-3 race starts at 2 p.m. The awards ceremony begins at 3:25 p.m. The WIAA uses GoFan Ticketing for all digital and cashless tickets. Admission is $9 plus online fees for adults and students. All tickets must be redeemed on a mobile device. To purchase tickets, visit the WIAA website at: https://gofan.co/app/school/WIAAWI?activity=Cross%20Country. ?: 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: https://www.pttiming.com/results-current.php. 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 and follow us on Instagram at wiaawi.

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