FALL CREEK — Glenwood City’s Ethan Brandt saved his best race for when it counted most – the sectional meet.
The senior delivered a stellar and intelligent performance at the WIAA Division 3 Fall Creek Cross Country last Saturday, October 20 to earn his third straight state berth.
Brandt finished in sixth place out of 105 runners with a time of 17:54.15 which qualified him for the state championships this Saturday, October 27 at Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids. The top five runners from non-qualifying teams earned a spot at state.
“Ethan has been hammered with that shin all year and has run kind of sporadic,” stated Glenwood City head coach Matt Schutz. “Today, he ran very smart. He laid himself back and then took advantage. I am very proud of how he did today.”
“Its a three-peat for him,” added Schutz. “It was his best race of the year. He did really well in Spring Valley but there wasn’t much competition there but this one (sectional) was a very smart race for Ethan. Much smarter than his conference race where he went out and died. This time (sectional) he laid back.”
“Ethan always has strategy but we didn’t know if his legs would get him there or not,” quipped Schutz. “But today they did.”
The head coach was also pleased with the entire effort of the Topper boys’ squad.
“The boys did fantastic,” stated Schutz. “We were missing one of our runners that normally scores for us but the others picked it up and some even had PR’s (personal records) – Derrick Huebner, who actually ran his best race ever and Tyler Johnson.”
Following Brandt were teammates Tyler Johnson in 22nd (18:52.17), Derick Huebner in 49th (19:46.27), Michael Johnson in 58th (20:14.26), Andrew Bauman in 79th (21:25.82) and Matthew Wink in 93rd (22:24.71).
First place went to Darin Lau of Immanuel Lutheran with a time of 16:42.72. The boy’s team finished seventh out of 14 teams.
The girl’s team finished seventh as well out of 13 teams with Jenna Magsam leading the way in 21st place with a time of 17:58.97.
“We have been hammered by injuries all season,” stated Schutz. “We never had Jennifer Kopacz, who was in the top 15 last year, but Jenna Magsam ran really well today and I am so proud of her. Mackenzie Wink and Megan Steinberger also ran good races.”
Also finishing for the team were Kaitlin Konder in 35th (18:26.08), Megan Steinberger in 56th (19:43.21), Maya Petersen in 58th (19:45.51), Mackenzie Wink in 64th (20:05.03) and Hannah Steinberger in 70th (20:28.91).
“Kaitlin Konder was pretty disappointed with her race,” noted the head coach. “She finished 20th last year but was no where near that this year.”
Morgan Kadinger, the girls’ top runner for much of the season, started the race at Fall Creek, but for the second straight competition was not able to finish as her legs just wouldn’t let her run anymore due to some lingering health issues.
“Morgan Kadinger was trying to recover from the conference (where she suffered) from dehydration and lack of iron,” Schutz said.
“She tried to give it a go today but got a mile and a half into the race and just did not have it in her so she just walked off the course,” said the coach. “The other coach told her too, which was smart. Hopefully she will recover physically and mentally from this next year. She is a very good runner.”
Spring Valley runner, Breanna Colbenson, took first place out of the 91 runners with a time of 15:10.96.
The girls’ team ended their season in Fall Creek as no runners will be advancing to the state tournament.
The Division 3 boys’ race is set to begin at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday.