By Amber Hayden
BOYCEVILLE – Despite a bone-chilling wind and an overcast sky, the Elk Mound boys’ and girls’ cross country teams shined in Boyceville last Thursday.
In two of the closest finishes in the history of the Dunn-St. Croix Conference’s Cross Country Championships, the Elk Mound boys’ and girls’ cross country squads won their respective races and with it the title of 2018 conference champions – the school’s first-ever conference crowns in the sport.
The favorite to claim the ladies D-SC title this season, the Elk Mound girls did just that by a single point, beating defending champion Glenwood City, 44 to 45. In fact, just a mere two points separated the top three girls’ teams as Durand finished in third with a score of 46 points in the October 11 meet held at Boyceville’s Tiffany Creek Elementary.
The Mounder boys pulled the upset of the day, running a great team race to upend the favorite and reigning boys’ champion Durand by three points – 43 to 46.
Coming into the season, head coach Jeremiah Fredrickson had high expectations for how his Mounder athletes would do.
“It was an amazing night, cold and windy but a dream night for us,” stated Elk Mound head coach Jeremiah Fredrickson.
“Our top four boys did what they had to do, as they have all season, to put us in position to compete,” explained coach Fredrickson, “the big surprise was our fifth guy Keagan McRea stepping up and having a great race.”
Finishing in second and third place were Mounder runners Cade Hanson and Andrew Pathos with times of 17:03.46 and 17:30.52. Hanson and Pathos also earned themselves spots on the first team all-conference squad.
Lukas Wagner also earned first team all-conference honors with his seventh place finish for Elk Mound with a time of 18:04.02, following Wagner was second team all-conference runner Seth Hazen in eighth place with a time of 18:04.93.
“On the men’s side we kind of thought it was Durand’s meet and we were looking at second,” stated coach Fredrickson, “but here again we had runners out there racing their butts off to win against whoever was next to them.”
Crossing the finish line in 23rd place was Mounder runner Keagan McRea with a time of 19:23.31, Brennan Zais was close behind in 31st place with a time of 19:52.27 and Brady Hunsnucker rounded out the Elk Mound team in 37th place and a time of 20:20.87.
Despite Glenwood City and Durand running great, both schools fell to the Mounder ladies who had taken it upon themselves to win individual battles throughout Thursday’s race.
“Going in we knew our women had a good shot at winning the conference, but what an awesome team finish,” coach Fredrickson commented.
Alana Plaszcz and Kirstin Martinson earned first team all-conference honors at the D-SC conference tournament taking second and sixth place respectively for Elk Mound with times of 20:54.68 and 21:19.44. Martinson also ran her personal best at the meet.
Elk Mound’s next three runners finished with only eight seconds separating from each other and earning them each a second team all-conference spot.
Seniors Victoria Fasbender and Brook Plaszcz finished with a time of 22:07.81 and 22:13.28 for 11th and 12th place.
Danielle Olson crossed next in 13th place with a time of 22:15.62.
“Their goal coming in was to win Conference and then go on and finish high in the sectional,” Fredrickson explained, “they accomplished their first goal in what will go down as one of the most exciting team races in the Dunn St. Croix.”
Paige Romanowski and Olivia Schreiber rounded out the Lady Mounder runners in 22nd and 23rd place with times of 23:07.99 and 23:35.31.
Elk Mound ended the tournament with nine All-Conference runners which coach Fredrickson believes is the most they have had at the high school.
“It will be fun to see how we stack up in Division 2 for the first time ever,” Fredrickson commented, “for now we’re going to enjoy our first ever Dunn-St. Croix Conference championship.”
Moving up a division in this year’s cross country sectional, Elk Mound will head to Colby High School this Saturday, October 20 for the WIAA Division 2 meet.
Running will begin at 11 a.m. with the boys’ race. The top two teams along with the first five individual finishers that are not part of a state qualifying team will advance to the State Cross Country Championship In Wisconsin Rapids on Saturday, October 27.
BOYS TEAM RESULTS: 1. Elk Mound 43, 2. Durand 46, 3. Colfax 83, 4. Spring Valley 84, 5. Boyceville 110, 6. Glenwood City 128, 7. Elmwood/Plum City 194, 8. Mondovi 224.
BOYS INDIVIDUAL RESULTS: 2. Cade Hanson 17:03.46, 3. Andrew Pathos 17:30.52, 7. Lukas Wagner 18:04.02, 8. Seth Hazen 18:04.93, 23. Keagan McRea 19:23.31, 31. Brennen Zais 19:52.27, 37. Brady Hunsnucker 20:20.87.
GIRLS TEAM RESULTS: 1. Elk Mound 44, 2. Glenwood City 45, 3. Durand 46, 4. Colfax 83, 5. Spring Valley 133.
GIRLS INDIVIDUAL RESULTS: 2. Alana Plaszcz 20:54.68, 6. Kirstin Martinson 21:19.44, 11. Victoria Fasbender 22:07.81, 12. Brook Plaszcz 22:13.28, 13. Danielle Olson 22:15.62, 22. Paige Romanowski 23:07.99, 24. Olivia Schreiber 23:35.31