At last weekend’s Westby sectional, the New Lisbon boys cross country team did what no one before them in school history had done: punch a ticket to state as a team.
Fueled by a top-five finish from junior Owen Jones and several other strong showings, the New Lisbon boys took second overall as a team to grab one of the two state meet berths up for grabs at the Division 3 Westby sectional meet Saturday, October 26 in Westby.
Jones (16:53.2) placed fourth overall to lead the way for the state-qualifying Rockets. Of course, his individual performance alone wasn’t getting them to Wisconsin Rapids. New Lisbon also got strong showings all across the board.
Freshman Keagan Shankle (18:15.4) came in 24th overall, senior Colten Stickney (18:22.2) placed 28th, senior Eugene Taylor (18:24.0) was right behind in 29th and senior Ethan Baldwin (19:15.6) was 54th. Sophomores Devan Minard (20:45.3) and Ethan Dvorak (20:48.0) also ran for the Rockets.
La Crosse Aquinas easily took home the team sectional title with 38 points thanks to four runners finishing in the top 10 — including junior Andrew Skemp (16:30.5) winning the race — and the fifth coming in 13th.
New Lisbon came in second with 138 team points to narrowly edge out Onalaska Luther (143) and Cashton (147) to secure the other team state berth. This isn’t just the Rockets’ first trip to state as a team; they are also only the second Scenic Bluffs school to ever make it to the state meet as a team on the boys’ side.
The only other Scenic Bluffs school to accomplish the feat is Brookwood, who finished fourth as a team in this year’s boys’ race. The Falcons have made it to state eight times as a boys’ team with the most recent trip coming in 2014.
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The five individual boys’ qualifiers at the Westby sectional were Durand sophomore Parker Schneider (16:34.6) in second, Cashton junior Jarret Carpenter (16:42.9) in third, Cashton junior Carson Hayes (17:10.3) in sixth, Cochrane-Fountain City freshman Wesley Pronschinske (17:19.2) in seventh and Kickapoo/La Farge freshman Nolan Reese (17:21.7) in eighth.
Also in the boys’ race, Necedah junior Isaiah Herried (18:11.5) placed 22nd overall, sophomore Ethan David (19:56.7) was 62nd, junior Andrew McNally (20:04.3) came in 66th, freshman Ben King (21:49.3) took 96th and sophomore Dominik Bottensek (22:34.5) finished in 106th.
Senior Seth David (25:29.7) and freshman Carson Wilhorn (28:37.0) also ran for the Cardinals, who took 14th as a team with 332 points. Royall senior Harley Leverenz (21:07.2) placed 84th overall.
In the girls’ race, Necedah came in 16th overall with a team score of 449. Junior Anetha Vogele (23:36.8) led the way for the Cardinals by coming in 61st.
Senior Julia Klafka (28:30.1) placed 100th, sophomore Faustina Wicka (28:44.8) was not far behind in 102nd, senior Gabby Wilhorn (30:30.6) took 104th and sophomore Anna Zavala (31:31.5) was 107th.
New Lisbon freshman Megan Jones (23:22.1) placed 51st overall in her first sectional meet.
Durand tallied 57 points to take home the team sectional title. Brookwood (107) followed in second to grab the other team state berth. This is the Falcons’ eighth girls’ team state berth in school history.
Individual state qualifiers were Kickapoo/La Farge sophomore Anelise Egge (19:25.9) in first, Cochrane-Fountain City freshman Reese Ehrat (20:25.5) in third, Hillsboro senior Hannah Munson (20:38.6) in fifth, Onalaska Luther senior Lizzie Stuebs (20:45.9) in sixth and Osseo-Fairchild senior Kari Herman (20:47.8) in seventh.
The 2019 WIAA Boys & Girls State Cross Country Championships will be held Saturday, November 2 at Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids. First up are the girls’ races: Division 2 at noon, Division 1 at 12:40 p.m. and Division 3 at 1:20 p.m. Boys’ races follow with Division 2 at 2 p.m., Division 1 at 2:35 p.m. and Division 3 at 3:10 p.m.
Follow Zach Rastall on Twitter @zrastall17 or contact him at 608-697-7943.