By Cara L. Dempski
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — The Elk Mound and Colfax cross country teams ran in fair weather for much of the 2017 season.
So, it stands to reason that the final race of the year for Colfax’s Erica Kallstrom and Elk Mound’s Alana Plaszcz and Cade Hanson saw the words “wind chill” and “snow” popping up frequently in conversation.
[emember_protected] Because while the air temperature hovered right around 40 degrees in Wisconsin Rapids October 28, there was no hiding from the nearly 10-degree difference the wind factored into the equation.
In short: it was cold and windy at The Ridges Golf Course last Saturday for the 2017 WIAA Cross Country Championships .
Even with the lackluster outdoor environment, coaches Jeremiah Fredrickson (Elk Mound) and Joe Doucette (Colfax) seemed pleased with the performances from their athletes at the state Division 3 meet last weekend.
Hanson, who also ran in the 2016 state championship, had the best finish of the day, taking 16th in a field of 151 boys’ runners after earning a personal best 17:02.9 in the boys’ race.
Kallstrom finished in 41st in her third straight state appearance after a 21:04.86 effort, and Plaszcz, who competed at state last year as part of the Mounders girls’ team, picked up 68th for her 21:38.66 race. There were also 151 competitors in the girls D3 state race.
Fredrickson said after the boys’ race it was an exciting trip for both Elk Mound athletes, despite the disappointment of both teams finishing third in the sectional meet the weekend prior.
“Alana had a tough race,” he said, “but she and Cade were excited to be here on this course a second year in a row.”
The Mounders lose a handful of runners after this season, but Fredrickson’s teams will retain the majority of their top seven runners for one more year, and has some talented underclassmen coming up to maintain the program’s success.
Doucette was very happy with how Kallstrom finished her season.
“There were tough conditions, cold and windy,” the Colfax coach said. “Erica had her best race of the year in a very good field. She is just getting into great shape due to some injury problems. I wish we had two more weeks to race, because she could be even better.”
The junior Viking fought off lingering twinges of an injury that forced her to miss much of the 2017 track season this past spring, but kept working to end her season in the state race. Doucette said Kallstrom could go down as one of Colfax’s best runners ever, after qualifying three times for the state meet, and being named a first-team all-conference cross country runner three years in a row.
The Colfax head coach noted the Dunn-St. Croix has some strong teams in both boys’ and girls’ cross country, forcing other teams to raise the bar, and admitted he was pleased to see a D-SC team win the boys’ Division 3 championship.
“Durand won the state title in the boys’ race,” Doucette said. “They ran super good, and I’m proud of them.”
While Durand took top team honors in the Division 3 race, it was Luther’s David Vannucchi who won the overall race, finishing the course in 15:54.83.
On the girls’ side, Dodgeland took home the team trophy with a score of just 56, while Edgar’s Marissa Ellenbecker cruised to the individual win in 18:56.33.
GIRLS’ INDIVIDUAL RESULTS: 41. Erica Kallstrom 21:04.86, 68. Alana Plaszcz 21:38.66.
BOYS’ INDIVIDUAL RESULTS: 16. Cade Hanson 17:02.9. [/emember_protected]