The state’s prep cross country runners have been running for over two months now, if not much longer, preparing for Saturday’s big sectional races. It is at Saturday’s sectionals where those runners will find out if all those extra miles over the summer paid off, as they will either have their season end, or they will earn the right to join the state’s best runners in Wisconsin Rapids on Oct. 28 for the WIAA State Cross Country Championships.
Advancing to the state meet will be the top two teams from each sectional. Also earning a trip to run at the state meet are the top five individuals who are not a member of one of the two state-qualifying teams.
Here is a look at the area’s cross country teams and the sectionals they will be competing at on Saturday:
DIVISION 2 DEERFIELD SECTIONAL
When, where: 11 a.m. Saturday, at CamRock Park, Cambridge.
Teams competing: Portage, Lodi, Big Foot/Williams Bay, Catholic Memorial, Clinton, Columbus, Deerfield/Cambridge, Delavan-Darien, East Troy, Jefferson, Lake Mills, Lakeside Lutheran, Racine St. Catherine’s, St. John’s Northwestern Milatary Academy (boys only), Watertown Luther Prep and Whitewater.
Girls notes: The Deerfield Sectional appears to be a tough one, at least for the girls teams competing, as there are three teams assigned to the sectional that are currently ranked in the latest Wisconsin Cross Country Coaches Association Poll. The top-ranked girls team running at the meet is Lake Mills at No. 4. Other ranked girls teams that are running in Deerfield on Saturday include No. 7 East Troy and No. 9 Jefferson. … The Lodi girls enter the Deerfield Sectional one week after finishing fifth at the Capitol North Conference Meet in Lake Mills. Lodi’s best bet at getting an individual to the state meet appears to be junior Isabelle Clary, who finished sixth at the conference meet with a time of 20 minutes, 51 seconds. … The Portage girls are coming off a solid performance at the Badger North Conference Meet in Baraboo, where they finished sixth. The Portage girls are a long shot to advance anyone to the state meet. Portage’s top individual at the conference meet last week was freshman Hanna Garetson, who finished 20th in 22:10.
Boys notes: As the lone ranked boys team at the Deerfield Sectional on Saturday, No. 14 East Troy enters as the favorite to grab one of the two team state qualifying spots. … Both the Lodi and Portage boys teams also hope to be in the mix for one of the two team qualifying spots. Portage finished seventh at Saturday’s Badger North Conference Meet, but that came mostly against Division 1 competition. Lodi was dominant at the Capitol North Conference Meet, finishing first with 37 points, edging out Lakeside Lutheran, who will also be in Deerfield, by 13 points. … Portage junior Tyler Jones should have a good shot at advancing to the state meet as an individual. He missed out on becoming a state qualifier by one spot last year, and has been running near the front of the pack at most of his races this fall. At Saturday’s Badger North Conference Meet, Jones finished fourth in 17:15 … Lodi senior Tanner Maier also has a good chance at advancing to the state meet. Maier has won five of the nine races he’s run in this fall, including last Saturday’s Capitol North Conference Meet, which he finished first in 16:43.
DIVISION 3 WESTFIELD SECTIONAL
When, where: Noon Saturday, at Westfield Area High School.
Teams competing: Pardeeville, Westfield, Amherst, Bonduel, Coleman, Crivitz, Gillett, Gresham Community/Bowler, Iola-Scandinavia, Laconia, Lena/Saint Thomas Aquinas Academy (girls only), Manawa, Markesan, Marion, Menominee Indian (boys only), Oconto, Princeton/Green Lake, Saint Mary Catholic, Weyauwega-Fremont, Wolf River Lutheran.
Girls notes: None of the girls teams competing in Westfield on Saturday are ranked, so the battle for the state team berth appears to be wide open. … The Westfield girls don’t figure to be one of the teams competing for a spot at the state meet, but junior Mikayla Flyte could make a push to qualify as an individual. Flyte has finished in the top 10 in nine of her 11 races this fall, including a pair of third-place finishes at the Berlin Invitational on Sept. 12 and the Don Chase Relays on Oct. 5. Flyte also has experience running at CamRock Park. She finished fourth there at the CamRock Invite on Aug. 31 with a time of 20:30. … The Pardeeville girls haven’t had enough runners to compete as a team this season, and don’t appear to have any individuals who are expected to qualify for the state meet. Pardeeville’s top runner at last week’s Trailways Conference Meet was sophomore Callie Brouette, who finished 27th in 23:13.
Boys notes: The boys field at the Westfield Sectional, just like the girls, doesn’t have any ranked teams competing. The Pardeeville boys aren’t expected to finish among the top two teams on Saturday, but they did finish fifth at the Trailways Conference Meet with 119 points. … The Westfield boys finished fifth at the South Central Conference Meet on Saturday, but the Pioneers will have experience on their side, as nobody knows how to handle the hilly Westfield course better than them. … Keep an eye on Pardeeville’s Dylan Oelke. The senior has been really good this fall, finishing fourth at the Trailways Conference Meet last week in 17:30. That came after he ran to a personal record time of 17:05 while finishing second at the Laconia Invite on Oct. 3. … Westfield’s top individual at Saturday’s SCC Meet was sophomore Daniel Petersen, who finished 25th in 19:19.
DIVISION 3 LAKE COUNTRY LUTHERAN SECTIONAL
When, where: 11 a.m. Saturday, at Lake Country Lutheran High School, Hatland.
Teams competing: Poynette, Rio/Fall River, Brookfield Academy, Catholic Central, Dodgeland, Heritage Christian (boys only), Horicon, Johnson Creek, Kenosha Christian Life, Kenosha Saint Joseph Academy, Lake Country Lutheran, Living Word Lutheran, Palmyra-Eagle, Racine Lutheran, Salam School, Shoreland Lutheran, The Prairie School, University Lake School/Trinity, Wayland Academy.
Girls note: The battle for the top two spots at the Lake Country Lutheran Sectional should be fierce, as there are four girls teams competing there on Saturday, including Poynette, who is ranked 10th in the latest WCCCA Poll. The Pumas main competition will come top-ranked Dodgeland, No. 4 ranked Palmyra-Eagle and No. 13 ranked Shoreland Lutheran. … If Poynette is unable to crack the top two, they should still have a decent shot at getting an individual through to the state meet. The Pumas, who finished second at the Capitol North Conference Meet last week, were led by freshman Katelyn Chadwick, who was third in 20:01, just barely missing out on becoming the third girl in Poynette history to break the 20-minute barrier. The Poynette girls also had sophomore Abbey Marquardt finish 10th in 21:09. … The Rio/Fall River girls team had a strong showing at last week’s Trailways Conference Meet, finishing fourth behind Dodgeland, Palmyra-Eagle and Lourdes Academy, all teams currently ranked in the top seven in the state in Division 3. If the Rio/Fall River girls are able to advance an individual to the state meet, it will likely be junior Emily Reed or senior Ashley Hagenow. Reed was 15th at the Trailways conference Meet last week in 22:00, while Hagenow was 18th in 22:22.
Boys notes: Much like the girls competition at Saturday’s Lake Country Lutheran Sectional, the boys side of things also includes plenty of top-notch teams, including three that are currently ranked. Host Lake Country Lutheran is ranked seventh, while Kenosha St. Joseph is ranked eighth and Living Word Lutheran is ranked ninth. The Poynette boys aren’t expected to compete for the top two spots as a team – they finished fourth at the Capitol North Conference meet last Saturday – but sophomore Elias Ritzke could have a shot at advancing as an individual. Ritzke was third at last weekend’s Capitol North Conference Meet, finishing with a time of 17:20. … The Rio/Fall River boys didn’t have enough runners to compete as a team at last week’s Trailways Conference Meet. Their top finisher at the meet was junior Spencer Braatz, who finished 18th in 18:38.