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Snow can’t slow down cross country state meet

It was a cold one at the WIAA Cross Country State Championship, but that didn’t stop some local runners from showing up big.

Division two girls and the defending team state champion Medford started off the day at noon. Unfortunately the Raiders were unable to become back to back champions, as they would finish fourth overall.

Next up was division one and the sophomore star Roisin Willis. Willis became the first area athlete to place on the podium individually on the day as she finished one spot better than last season at third with a time of 18:20.9.

“You know I was really nervous when I started, but when I was running the first mile I was just having fun and I was smiling and I just really enjoyed being out there,” said Willis. “I’ve never felt like that at a cross country race, but I was just happy to be here i’m just super grateful how it went today.”

After Willis took bronze, division three took the course as two time defending state champion Marissa Ellenbecker looked to make it three in a row. However, the senior would place tenth and pass the torch to Weyauwega-Fremont Sophomore Abby Bartel, who became a state champion with a time of 18:52.9.

“Yeah, I was just like really nervous of course,” said Bartel.

“Because last year I led it for awhile, but I ended up getting passed, so I was just nervous about that happening again. But I just kept pushing so yeah it was really exciting when I was coming down the home stretch, I was like, ‘ok, i’m actually gunna do this.’.”

Also competing in the that race was last years team runner up Auburndale. The Apache’s were close to doing it again but would come in third by just two points.

“We just wanted to do good,” said the Apache’s top runner Erricka Zenner. “We wanted to do what we did last year, but… we were looking for first, but we were happy with anything we were just glad we were able to come and experience this again.”

Over in division three boys Pacelli’s Gabe Hoerter finished sixth, with a time of 16:31.5, helping his team finish fifth.

Finally in division one, Wausau West’s Ryan Hartman would finish 8th.

But the day belonged to Steven Point, whose team who took the runner up spot finishing just 12 points shy of becoming a state champion.

“Well i’m proud of these guys,” said head coach Donn Behnke. “I tell them that after every hard practice and every meet I tell them how proud I am and that’s certainly true today they went out there and ran just a terrific race.”

You can review all the results of the 2019 WIAA State Cross Country meet here at the WIAA’s official page.

Alex Stewart

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