For the second year in a row, and the third time in four seasons, the Wisconsin Dells girls cross country team is returning to the WIAA State Cross Country Championships. The Chiefs are hoping the third time is a charm, as they will be gunning to return home with a state championship trophy.
Wisconsin Dells booked its latest trip to the state meet by winning the Division 2 Westby Sectional on Saturday in Westby. Much like they have all season, the Chiefs dominated the competition. They put two runners in the top three and five runners in the top 16 on the way to finishing with 40 points, a whole 18 points better than runner-up Westby and 62 pointer better than third-place Mauston.
Wisconsin Dells sophomore Laura Beghin finished in second place overall with a time of 18 minutes, 39 seconds. The only runner to beat Beghin was Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau junior Dana Feyen, who won the girls race in sizzling 17:53. Beghin is familiar with Feyen, as she was the only runner to beat Feyen last season, doing it at the sectional and state meets.
Wisconsin Dells senior Taylor Campbell has been coming on strong in her final season. Campbell finished third on Saturday with a time of 19:34. That is Campbell’s best time of the season, and it marked the third time she has broken the 20-minute mark this fall. Campbell also became the second four-time state qualifier in Wisconsin Dells cross country history, joining former teammate Monica Jaled, who accomplished the feat last season.
The third Wisconsin Dells runner to finish at Saturday’s sectional was Emily Cunningham. The freshman has been key to the team’s success this season, and she was again on Saturday, when she finished seventh overall in 20:28. Emily’s older sister Lindsay Cunningham was the next Chief to finish at the sectional, coming home in 12th place with a time of 20:46. Saturday marked the ninth time in 11 races Lindsay Cunningham has finished under 21 minutes.
The fifth Wisconsin Dells runner on Saturday was freshman Megan Jones. She ended up 16th in 21:03. It was Jones’ third-fastest time of the season.
Rounding out the varsity results for Wisconsin Dells were freshman Gracie Walker in 36th (22:40) and Addy Johnson in 47th (23:07). The time was Walker’s second fastest on the season, while Johnson finished with her fourth-quickest time on the year.
The Wisconsin Dells girls will now gear up for the WIAA State Championships, which will take place on Saturday at Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids. The Division 2 girls race is the third of six races scheduled at the meet, and will begin at 1:20 p.m.
Wisconsin Dells will enter the meet ranked third in the latest Wisconsin Cross Country Coaches Association Division 2 Girls rankings.
Of the 16 teams qualified to run in the Division 2 girls race, six of them return after finishing in the top 10 last year. Freedom – currently ranked No. 1 by the WCCCA, is the top returning team after placing third last season. The Irish have four runners returning from last year’s team.
Wisconsin Lutheran returns four participants from a team that finished fourth a year ago. Wisconsin Dells also has four returning runners after finishing fifth in 2016.
Beghin, who finished second in the state last year as a freshman, is one of six top-10 finishers from last year’s state meet to return to the field this season. Feyen, the defending state champion returns, along with Beghin, Xavier sophomore Annie Higgins (fourth last year), Delavan-Darien senior Erin Sorg (eighth), and the Freedom tandem of senior Jaci Hinz and junior Lauren Vosters (ninth and 10th).
Boys finish 9th
One year after finishing in 13th place at sectionals, the Wisconsin Dells boys team improved to ninth place, finishing with 210 points at Saturday’s Westby Sectional.
Leading the Wisconsin Dells boys was sophomore Pablito Schulz, who finished ninth in 17:24. That time had him not far off the pace of becoming a state qualifier, as the last individual boys qualifier from the sectional was Matt Roth of Colby/Abbotsford, who finished sixth in 17:03.
The time for Schulz was his second best of the season, with the only faster time coming at the South Central Conference meet last week when he finished in 17:19.
Joining Schulz in the top 20 was junior Nick Kruschke, who was 18th in 17:50. Finishing third for the Wisconsin Dells boys was sophomore Dylan Nevar in 54th place with a time of 19:15. Senior Gabe Kingsley was 64th in 19:15. That time for Kingsley was just 2 seconds slower than his personal best of 19:31, which was set at last week’s SCC meet.
Rounding out the varsity results for the Wisconsin Dells boys were sophomore Bryson Funmaker in 65th (19:36), junior Dylan Anchor in 85th (21:14) and freshman Silas Greendeer in 88th (21:32).
DIVISION 2 WESTBY SECTIONAL
Team scores: Wisconsin Dells 40, Westby 58, Mauston 102, Viroqua 130, La Crosse Logan 143, West Salem 145, Neillsville 203, Arcadia 220, Colby/Abbotsford 234, Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau 245, Altoona 274, Sparta 329, Adams-Friendship 339, Nekoosa/Port Edwards 413.
Top 10 individuals: 1, Dana Feyen, GET, 17:53; 2, Laura Beghin, WD, 18:39; 3, Taylor Campbell, WD, 19:34; 4, Journey Malacina, Mau, 19:49; 5, Abbey Wedwick, West, 19:58; 6, Chloee Lowry, Neil, 20 16; 7, Emily Cunningham, WD, 20:28; 8, Sydney Sherry, West, 20:34; 9, Kate Schroeder, WS, 20:34; 10, Greta Trapp, LCL, 20:41.
Individual state qualifiers: 1, Dana Feyen, GET, 17:53; 4, Journey Malacina, Mau, 19:49; 6, Chloee Lowry, Neil, 20:16; 9, Kate Schroeder, WS, 20:34; 10, Greta Trapp, LCL, 20:41.
Wisconsin Dells: 2, Laura Beghin 18:39; 3, Taylor Campbell 19:34; 7, Emily Campbell 20:28; 12, Lindsay Cunningham 20:46; 16, Megan Jones 21:03; 36, Gracie Walker 22:40; 47, Addy Johnson 23:07.
Team scores: La Crosse Logan 66, Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau 96, Sparta 123, Nekoosa/Port Edwards 133, West Salem 144, Arcadia 156, Mauston 162, Westby 176, Wisconsin Dells 210, Colby/Abbotsford 249, Viroqua 284, Altoona 288, Neillsville 326, Black River Falls 345, Adams-Friendship 416.
Top 10 individuals: 1, Hayden Fredrickson, West, 16:12; 2, Miguel Mathias, NPE, 16:17; 3, Ramon Romero, Arc, 16:19; 4, Chalrie McKinney, WS, 16:27; 5, Doug Feye, GET, 16:44; 6, Matt Roth, CA, 17:03; 7, Brady Niemeier, WS, 17:10; 8, Zach Slevin, LCL, 17:17; 9, Pablito Schulz, WD, 17:24; 10, Josh Jumbeck, GET, 17:28.
Individual state qualifiers: 1, Hayden Fredrickson, West, 16:12; 2, Miguel Mathias, NPE, 16:17; 3, Ramon Romero, Arc, 16:19; 4, Chalrie McKinney, WS, 16:27; 6, Matt Roth, CA, 17:03.
Wisconsin Dells: 9, Pablito Schulz 17:24; 18, Nick Kruschke 17:50; 54, Dylan Nevar 19:15; 64, Gabe Kingsley 19:33; 65, Bryson Funmaker 19:36; 85, Dylan Anchor 21:14; 88, Silas Greendeer 21:32.