This year’s WIAA State Cross Country Championships looked a lot different due to coronavirus restrictions, but area runners didn’t let that stop them from turning in some outstanding performances at the Division 1 and Division 2 meets.
At the Division 1 meet hosted by Arrowhead High School in Hartland, Hudson freshman Haley Loewe finished seventh in the 114 girls’ field while in the boys’ race, New Richmond senior Max Blader and River Falls senior Grant Magnuson both posted top-10 finishes while the Tiger boys’ placed eighth in the 12-team field.
St. Croix Central was well-represented at the Division 2 meet in Colby where the Panther girls finished sixth overall and seniors Jakob Eggen and Cougar Holder posted top-40 times in the boys’ competition.
Each race at the state meets consisted of three heats with times kept secret until all the heats were completed. That made race strategy an issue, according to River Falls coach Kari DeLuca.
“The athletes would have rather run all together to know what they were up against,” she said.
Loewe didn’t let that stop her from turning in the fastest time of any freshman in the Division 1 girls’ competition -- 18 minutes, 39.3 seconds-- to finish seventh overall. Five of the six runners ahead of her were seniors -- including winner Kora Malecek of Onalaska (17:52.8) while the other was a junior. Loewe was just 2.3 seconds away from sixth place.
In the Division 1 boys’ race, Blader finished sixth overall with a time of 15:57.8 and Magnuson was 10th in 16:03.4 while Hudson senior Anthony Weeks finished 16th in 16:13.1. Senior Joshua Truchon of West Allis Nathan Hale won the boys’ title with a time of 15:18.3.
Blader made his second straight appearance at state while Magnuson became the first three-time state qualifier in River Falls’ boys history while earning the program’s second best finish. Only Trent Powell, who placed fourth in 2013, finished higher.
Weeks, meanwhile, was making his fourth straight appearance at state. His previous best finish was 36th place a year ago.
Blader’s time of 15:57.8 was good for a third-place contribution to the Tigers’ team score of 160. Cale Bishop added a ninth-place team time of 16:20.2 and Tyler Harris was 14th in 16:36.0 while Aidan Johnson was 66th in 17:57.1 and Jacob Doehrmann was 68th in 18:07.4.
Oconomowoc won the Division 1 boys’ team title with a score of 109.
At the Division 2 competition in Colby, senior Mya Kizer in her fourth straight appearance at state, finished 12th overall, and fifth in the team competition, with a time of 19:48.18 to lead the Panther girls to a sixth-place team score of 149. Winneconne won the team title with a score of 76.
Kaitlyn Carlson contributed a 10th place time of 20:19.58 to the Panthers’ team total and Sydney Carlson was 40th in 21:57.73 while Sidnie Roshell finished 42nd in 22:04.21 and Ellie Smith was 52nd in 22:19.43.
Kaci Martinson of Southwestern Co-op won the girls’ Division 2 individual title with a time of 18:09.29.
In the Division 2 boys’ individual competition, St. Croix Central’s Eggen finished 18th with a time of 17:15.07 while teammate Holder was 39th in 17:38.16. Leo Richardson of Edgewood was first in 15:47.05.