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BOYCEVILLE — It a three-peat!
What some had predicted and others hoped for came to fruition just past noon Saturday, October 20 when the Glenwood City girls’ squad won its third consecutive WIAA Division 3 cross country sectional championship at a familiar venue.
The Lady Hilltoppers bested 21 other schools, eight of which had full squads of five runners or more, on the Tiffany Creek Elementary course at the Boyceville Sectional Saturday scoring a low tally of 40 points to fend off runner-up Chippewa Falls McDonell Central who finished 23 points back with a 63.
The pair earned the two team qualifying berths for next Saturday’s State Championships at the Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids.
The win was not only the Topper gals fourth sectional crown in five years but the fifth straight season that the team has earned a spot in the state meet.
“It never gets old,” said a happy but relieved Toppers’ head coach Matthew Schutz of the sectional win. “But it does get more nerve wrecking.”
The top four Glenwood City girls finished in the top 16 and all seven varsity runners finished 35th or better in the 80-competitor field at Boyceville.
As she has done most of the season, freshman runner Bella Simmons topped the Glenwood City girls’ efforts with a third-place overall finish. She completed the 5,000 meter course in 20:48.4 in cold (mid-30s) and extremely windy conditions.
Just over a half minute later, junior Isabella Williams crossed the finish line in 21:22.1 to take seventh. Junior Emily Bethell and freshman Kendall Schutz were the next Toppers to come in taking 15th and 16th respectively with times of 22:16.2 and 22:19.5. Another GC freshman, Samantha Peterson, rounded out the team scoring finishing in 21st place in 22:52.1. Sophomore Gabrielle Moede, who has been running with shin splints for much of the season, gave a gutty performance to finish 27th (23:24.7) and foreign exchange student Azra Ibrahimagic, who was the seventh and final Toppers’ competitor to finish, came in 35th (24:02.9).
“It’s not hard to be excited when your fifth girls’ team in a row is off to the state cross country championships,” commented Coach Schutz.
“It’s awesome to see the veteran runners push the new freshman to the level they have experienced over the years. However, these freshman don’t know anything different since being in the program since 6th grade,” continued Schutz. “They have been waiting for this opportunity to shine themselves. And they did, with three freshman being a part of the team’s five scorers.”
“The whole girls’ team ran a great race,” Schutz added. “We knew McDonell Central was our top competition, but when our top four runners were coming in before their second runner, I knew that the team executed what we had planned.”
Lana Blumer, a Chetek-Weyerhaeuser freshman, set a new course record of 19:55.1 to win the individual sectional title by more than 46 seconds over runner-up and senior Carolyn Shult of Augusta who finished the race in 20:41.4. Those two along with seniors Anna Klein of St. Croix Falls and Orianna Lebal of Lake Holcombe and Clear Lake junior Natalie Kreier earned individual state berths.
On the boys’ side, Glenwood City finished tenth with 252 points and were led by juniors Jabin Hojem and Elijah Simmons who ran to 29th and 46th place finishes in a field of 111 runners. Hojem finished the 5,000 meter course in 19:07.6 with Simmons coming in just over 30 seconds later with a time of 19:39.7.
A quartet of freshman filled out the Glenwood City boys finishing times.
Thomas Moede finished just two spots (48th) and five second (19:44.5) behind Simmons. Brendan Booth placed 65th after running a 20:13.9, Henry Wallin turned in a time of 21:06.4 and John Hagar rounded out the Hilltopper boys’ squad placing 85th place in 21:30.3.
The boys may have likely placed higher if promising freshman Austin Nelson had not suffered an injury. Nelson, who has been among the Toppers’ top two or three team finishers this season, injured a knee and had to drop out of Saturday’s sectional race.
“As for the boys’ team, our goal was to be in the top ten of teams, which they accomplished taking 10th,” said Schutz. “Our top two runners struggled a little today, but the remaining team had their best runs of the year despite the windy and cool conditions. They are a young team, and I am looking forward to next year as they grow some and a group of new eighth grade runners join them.”
Trevor Lamirande of St. Croix Falls (17:25.7) and Owen-Withee senior Jacob Seidel (17:34.4) were the top two place winners for the boys while Chippewa Falls McDonell Central won the boys’ team title with 36 points and Clear Lake came in second with 101 points.
The other individual state qualifiers for the boys were juniors Aaron Dorf of Augusta and Andrew Schlitz of Eau Claire Regis.
The Glenwood City girls will race in the WIAA Division 3 girls’ state championship meet tentatively scheduled for 2:35 p.m. this Saturday at the Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids.
WIAA SECTIONAL RESULTS:
GC BOYS: 29. Jabin Hojem 19:08, 46. Elijah Simmons 19:40, 48. Thomas Moede 19:45, 65. Brendan Booth 20:14, 79. Henry Wallin 21:07, 85. John Hager 21:31.
TEAM SCORES: 1. McDonell Central 36, 2. Clear Lake 101, 3. Augusta 104, 4. Colfax 142, 5. Spring Valley 144, 6. St. Croix Falls 156, 7. Boyceville 161, 8. EC Immanuel Lutheran 182, 9. Fall Creek 198, 10. Glenwood City 252, 11. Regis 291, 12. Cadott 323, 13. Chetek-Weyerhaeuser 373, 14. Elmwood/Plum City 377, 15. Thorp 396.
GC GIRLS: 3. Bella Simmons 20:49, 7. Isabella Williams 21:23, 15. Emily Bethell 22:17, 16. Kendall Schutz 22:20, 21. Samantha Peterson 22:53, 27. Gabrielle Moede 23:25, 35. Azra Ibrahimagic 24:03.
TEAM SCORES: 1. Glenwood City 40, 2. McDonell Central 63, 3. Colfax 88, 4. Chetek-Weyerhaeuser 111, 5. St. Croix Falls 114, 6. Regis 139, 7. Thorp 146, 8. Spring Valley 180.