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WISCONSIN RAPIDS — The state cross country championships are like no other race competitors run in all season long.
With nearly a thousand competitors across three divisions for boys and girls and even more spectators lining the course, it can be a challenging and nerve-racking experience even for those runners that have had the privilege to compete in the state race before.
After running as a member of the Glenwood City boys’ team in last year’s state meet, sophomore Clayton Hoffman had to go it alone in the 2023 WIAA Division 3 boys’ state cross country championship held at high noon on The Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids this past Saturday, October 28.
Hoffman struggled a bit with his nerves and the challenging Ridges’ course in his second consecutive go-round as he finished 65th out of 150 competitors with a time of 17:57.3.
“Clayton would be the first to admit that it wasn’t his best race,” stated Matthew Schutz, Glenwood City head coach. “The state meet is its own beast compared to the rest of the season and his nerves got the best of him.”
Although the time was some 34 seconds slower that his previous week’s clocking at the sectional meet in Cadott where Hoffman finished fifth to become Glenwood City’s lone state qualifier, it was 53 seconds faster than he ran in his inaugural state competition last year when he finished 103rd.
“Clayton has come a long way in a year from being the 5th, 6th or 7th runner on the team as a freshman to consistently being the number one this season. Except for the state meet, he was consistently in the top ten when running with Division 2 and 3 runners,” added Schutz.
Hoffman ran a 5:23 over the first mile in Saturday’s state race but tired a bit in the cool temperatures over the final two miles of the race. He clocked a 5:59 on the second mile and posted a 6:37 split over the third mile.
Senior Charlie Vater from Iola -Scandinavia won this year’s D3 individual state championship in a blazing time of 15:49.7 which was 12 second faster than state runner-up Taylor Karcz of Crandon who finish in 16:01.8.
With three runners in the top 31, Kohler claimed this year’s boys’ state team championship with a score of 109. Solon/Springs Northwood was a close second after scoring a 114 to earn the silver trophy.
“Clayton’s future looks bright as he’s only a sophomore and he will reflect back on this race and grow from it. Clayton should be very proud of all the success he had this season,” concluded Schutz.