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WISCONSIN RAPIDS — A trio of Glenwood City cross country runners capped their season and for two of them their prep careers by competing in this past Saturday’s state cross country championships.
Seniors Austin Nelson and Kendall Schutz and junior JJ Williams all finished well in the 2021 WIAA Division 3 State Cross Country Championships held October 30 at the Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids.
Williams was the top finisher among the three Hilltopper harriers placing 12th in the boys’ state race, teammate and state running mate Nelson finished 27th while Schutz, competing in her fourth consecutive state meet, was 43rd in the girls’ final race of the season. Both competitions featured 149 individuals.
“I felt we had a successful state meet,” said Glenwood City head coach Matthew Schutz.
JJ Williams finished the 5,000-meter course at the Ridges in a time of 17:09.7 while Austin Nelson finished just 20 seconds later in 17:29.5.
“Austin and JJ had a great race running between 15th and 20th place throughout most of the race,” noted Coach Schutz.
“When it came to the last 600 meters, JJ was able to push forward on his way to the finish line taking 12th place just missing the podium, but Austin, unfortunately, ran out of gas and fell back to 27th. It was still a great showing to have two boys finish in the top 30 out of 149 competitors,” he added.
Kendall Schutz saved her best for last, running her best time on the Ridges’ course to finish in 21:10.6.
“Kendall had her best time on the Ridge’s course, running it 35 seconds faster than her sophomore year,” proudly stated her coach and father. “It was also 60+ degrees by the time she ran the last race at 3:00 p.m. and much warmer than two years ago when it was flurrying.”
Finishing 43rd in her final run at state was also a marked improvement over her sophomore year when she finished 79th. Schutz didn’t run on the Ridges’ course a year ago as COVID forced the tournament to move to La Crosse.
“All three have worked very hard to get to this point and I’m glad they weren’t disappointed in their last race,” said Schutz of his three state racers.
“I’m very proud of how Austin and Kendall have evolved as runners since their freshman year. Both saw tremendous improvement each year when it came to times and race placement. They are two big competitors that our team will miss next season,” concluded Schutz.
Senior Shane Griepentrog won the Division 3 boys’ individual state title with a time of 15:38 and helped Valders also take the team title with 78 points. Grantsburg was second with 85 points.
In the girls’ D3 competition, Boscobel captured team gold with 71 points with Valders taking second with 108. Catholic Central junior Elsie Kmecak was the girls’ D3 champion after finishing in 19:47.7.