WESTBY – The rest of the Mauston girls cross country team was close to joining Journey Malacina at this weekend’s WIAA Division 2 state finals.

Malacina earned a 4th-place finish in last Saturday’s sectional at Westby with a time of 19 minutes, 49.4 seconds and secured one of the five at-large berths to the state final. Her finish also helped the Golden Eagles challenge for a team transfer spot.

“Journey was our lead runner but the rest of our team was in hot pursuit,” Mauston coach Bill DeVoe said.

Three teammates also earned top-25 finishes for Mauston, which finished with 102 points to place third while Wisconsin Dells (40) and Westby (58) nabbed the team transfer spots. Wisconsin Dells put three runners in the top 10 to edge Westby, which had two top-10 finishers.

“We knew that (Wisconsin) Dells and Westby were going to be in a battle for the top two teams,” DeVoe said. “We wanted to be in position, in case one of them opened the door for us.”

Malacina and the rest of the field all were chasing Gale-Ettrick-Tremplealeau’s Dana Feyen, who won the event in 17:53.6 and was the sectional’s lone finisher under 18 minutes.

Mauston’s Anna Boppart was less than two seconds from a top-10 finish and earning the final individual transfer spot. She finished 11th with a time of 20:43.6, while La Crosse Logan’s Greta Trapp (20:41.7) placed 10th and secured the last transfer spot to the finals.

Grace Hammer (21:30.9) placed 24th in her final run for Mauston; Mya Scully (21:40.6) was 25th and Isabella Kemper (22:46.8) was 38th to complete the Golden Eagles’ team score. Kelsey Georgeson (23:01.1) was 43rd and Haley Heath (24:12.7) was 58th as the team’s additional runners.

Durand sectional

For runners seeking an individual berth to the state final, the Durand sectional was possibly the most difficult in the state.

While team transfer spots were secured by Aquinas (79) and Cashton (89), neither team accounted for any of the event’s top-4 finishers. Therefore, runners hoping for a spot in the state final needed to finish sixth or better.

New Lisbon’s Catrina Johnson finished in 22:38.3 to place 14th, 61 seconds from a state-qualifying run. Necedah’s Anetha Vogele (23:03.8) finished 17th and Royall’s Tenley Wopat (23:19) was 24th.

Necedah had the five runners required to submit a team score and finished with 263 points, placing 11th in the 12-team event. Emily Herried (25:25.8) was 53rd; Megan Vanmeter (25:28.7) was 55th; Mikayla McNally (26:52.2) was 63rd and Julia Klafka (32:29.5) was 76th.

Madeline Wainwright (24:24.6) finished 47th for Royall; Molly Wiese (26:18.5) was 65th and Amber Greene (31:43) was 93rd for New Lisbon while Julia Klafka (32:29.5) was 95th for Necedah.