Juniors Mason Shea and Joey Madsen, and sophomore Grant Magnuson, all got their first taste of the WIAA State Cross Country Championship Saturday, Oct. 27, in Wisconsin Rapids, and all three are looking forward to using their experience as motivation to return next year.
Shea, Magnuson and Madsen were three of the 190 competitors in a rainy Division 1 boys' race that featured the best of the best in the state of Wisconsin. Their coach Kari DeLuca said they learned a lot from the experience.
"The first time running at state can be a bit overwhelming," she said. "It's hard to pace yourself in that field because it's so different than the rest of the season. Lots of runners and teams that we are not used to racing and the race always goes out very fast."
Shea led the River Falls contingent with a 45th place time of 16 minutes, 32.5 seconds on the hilly 5,000-meter course at The Ridges Golf Course. Magnuson placed 70th in his first state race with a time of 16:46.7, while Madsen was 159th in 17:33.7.
Senior Drew Bosley of Homestead won the individual title with a time of 15:20.1 while Neenah was crowned team champions. Hudson placed ninth in the 20-team field while Eau Claire Memorial was 17th.
DeLuca said the three Wildcat individual qualifiers are determined to help River Falls return as a team next season.
"It's great that they got the experience and we'll just keep getting fitter in the next couple of years," she said. "I think each of them left a little hungry to race at state again and improve."