By Cara L. Dempski
BOYCEVILLE — For the fourth year in a row, Glenwood City cross country coach Matthew Schutz will be making hotel reservations for his girls’ team in Wisconsin Rapids.
The Glenwood City girls lived up to heavy expectations, despite a slow start, wind and rain showers that turned parts of the Tiffany Creek Elementary course to mud, to win their second consecutive WIAA Division 3 Cross Country Sectional crown in Boyceville last Saturday morning, October 21.
[emember_protected] The Lady Hilltoppers finished with 55 points to best runner-up Cameron by 18 points and D-SC rival Elk Mound who finished third with 80 points to claim its third sectional cross country championship and fourth straight state berth in the past four years. Glenwood City also won the crown in 2014 and last year and was the runner-up in 2015.
The Toppers boys’ team finished in eighth place out of 18 teams at this year’s sectional meet.
“I’m very proud of my athletes on Saturday,” Schutz said following the sectional meet. “The girls knew they needed to beat Cameron for the championship. To start the race, Cameron went out hard, but my athletes didn’t panic, and caught the runners they needed to pass up during the race to win.”
Schutz also said that the weather really wasn’t a factor in the race.
The girls knew that they would be tested by both Cameron and Dunn-St. Croix foe Elk Mound.
And they were but the Hilltoppers delivered in crunch time as four of their runners – Isabella Williams, Julia Dinkel, Megan Speiser and Makayla O’Brien – finished in the top 17 while all seven of their varsity runners finished ahead of Cameron’s fifth-place runner giving the Glenwood City girls their second straight sectional title and fourth state berth.
Sophomore Isabella Williams was the top finisher for the Topper girls taking sixth place overall after running the course in 21:21.6.
Julia Dinkel translated a 21:51.9 performance into 10th place, and Megan Speiser finished in 12th for her 22:05.6 race.
Senior Makayla O’Brien took 17th for her 22:29.7 run, Gabrielle Moede finished in 23:05.0 for 26th as Glenwood City fifth-place runner.
Emily Bethell took 30th with a time of 23:19.6, and Elizabeth Wink finished 23:32.6 for 34th overall.
Despite dealing with a painful hip injury for the past month, Bethell gave a gutty performance to not only finish but get in the top 30 runners.
“Emily has been plagued by a hip injury since probably week four. She probably should not have been running the last few weeks as it needs a lot more time to heal,” stated Coach Schutz. “But athletes want to compete and contribute.
“She’s done no running in the last three weeks and did some workouts in a pool,” continued Schutz. “Her participation at state is questionable. We really just need her to heal up for the future.”
“My other runners have just stepped it up when we needed it as a team. That’s what good teams do,” Schutz added.
The Glenwood City girls will be joined in Wisconsin Rapids by individual race winner Kassye Todd of Elmwood/Plum City, who picked up the win on a 20:16.5 race. Falon Immormino (Thorp/Gilman), Alana Plaszcz (Elk Mound), Erica Kallstrom (Colfax), and Orianna Lebal (Lake Holcombe/Cornell) will also compete in this Saturday’s WIAA State Cross Country Championships as individuals.
The two top team finishers along with the best five individual finishers from non-qualify teams earn berths to the state meet.
Schutz said his boys’ team really stepped it up, with his top four runners having great races, and is proud of how the team finished in the section.
“It was their best run as a team for the year,” the coach said. “They were so close to beating Spring Valley, which was one of our goals.”
Hilltopper senior Jacob Nadeau led the boys’ team around the course one last time for a 15th-place finish after an 18:38.8 race. Jabin Hojem followed with a time of 19:42.4 to take 39th, Matthew Bauman finished in 46th with his 19:57.9 effort, and Matthew O’Brien finished his freshman season with a time of 20:07.4 for 49th.
Elijah Simmons ran the course in 21:40.4 to take 79th, Henry Wallin took 91st with a time of 22:25.1, and Bradley Kessler completed his final high school race in 22:33.8 to take 93rd.
The boys’ team from Chippewa Falls’ McDonell Central took home the sectional trophy while Augusta finished second to capture the other state team berth Eau Claire Immanuel’s Dan Lau won the individual race in 17:18.1.
The Hilltopper girls are slated to run in the WIAA Division 3 state race Saturday, October 28 at approximately 12:40 p.m. The state championships are held at The Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids
GIRLS’ INDIVIDUAL RESULTS: 6. Isabella Williams 21:21.6, 10. Julia Dinkel 21:51.9, 12. Megan Speiser 22:05.6, 17. Makayla O’Brien 22:29.7, 26. Gabrielle Moede 23:05.0, 34. Elizabeth Wink 23:32.6.
GIRLS’ TEAM RESULTS: 1. Glenwood City 55, 2. Cameron 73, 3. Elk Mound 80, 4. McDonell Central 128, 5. Colfax 156, 6. Fall Creek 178, 7. St. Croix Falls 191, 8. Boyceville 231, 9. Chetek-Weyerhaeuser 241, 10. Clear Lake 253, 11. Eau Claire Regis 255, 12. Cadott 273, 13. Spring Valley 310, 14. Prairie Farm 343.
BOYS’ INDIVIDUAL RESULTS: 15. Jacob Nadeau 18:38.8, 39. Jabin Hojem 19:42.4, 46. Matthew Bauman 19:57.9, 49. Matthew O’Brien 20:07.4, 79. Elijah Simmons 21:40.4, 91. Henry Wallin 22:25.1, 93. Bradley Kessler 22:33.8.
BOYS’ TEAM RESULTS: 1. McDonell Central 66, 2. Augusta 85, 3. Elk Mound 96, 4. Eau Claire Immanuel 122, 5. Colfax 192, 6. Chetek-Weyerhaeuser 215, 7. Spring Valley 215, 8. Glenwood City 223, 9. Cameron 266, 10. Eau Claire Regis 283, 11. Boyceville 286, 12. Fall Creek 293, 13. Clear Lake 297, 14. Stanley-Boyd 319, 15. St. Croix Falls 383, 16. Cadott 383, 17. Lake Holcombe/Cornell 439, 18. New Auburn 547. [/emember_protected]