By Paul Lecker
The 109th running of the WIAA Boys Cross Country Championships and the 48th Annual Girls Cross Country Championships will take place Saturday, Oct. 30, at The Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids.
Numerous area teams and individual runners will take part in the state meet, which begins at noon.
The Stevens Point boys, the winner of the alternate fall season state title in the spring of 2021, highlights the Division 1 field. Aloysius Franzen, Bode Erickson, James Jacobs, Zach Scharbarth, Tate Bruckhart, Tye Lepak, and Eric Boettcher will look to give the Panthers a repeat performance.
Also competing from the area in the Division 1 boys field are Marshfield seniors Henry Hoerneman and Graham Lonsdale, and Erek Ross of Wausau East.
Wisconsin Rapids had three runners qualify for the Division 1 girls race. Senior Elise Moon, and juniors Kate Schaeffer and Allison Jahns will compete on their home course for the Raiders.
D.C. Everest sophomore Sara Mlodik, the Wisconsin Valley Conference and sectional champion, and Marshfield senior Eliana Kanitz will also compete in Division 1. Kanitz became the first girl in Marshfield history to qualify for state four times.
The Division 2 girls race will have two local participants in freshman Britt Fitzgerald of Mosinee and Amherst sophomore Jennifer Omernick.
The Division 3 races are littered with area runners.
Four boys teams from the Central Wisconsin qualified for the state meet – Stevens Point Pacelli (Adam Eiden, Gabe Hoerter, Sam Carpenter, Nolan Wojchik, Lucas Haemmerle, and Nathaniel Meadows), Athens (Nathan Wolf, Andrew Schaer, Brooks Kraus, Nicholas Pittman, Connor Sheahan, and Garrett Knott), Auburndale (juniors Charles Jewell, Mason White Eagle, Ian Grosskopf, and Alex Mikes, seniors Gavin White Eagle, and Parker Empey, and sophomore Sawyer Cherney), and Marathon (Jacob Smith, Jaron Gage, Drek Vesely, Dylan Dodson, Ian Blake, Owen Marks, and Brandon Gitzlaff).
The Pacelli boys placed third in the Division 3 team standings in 2020.
Earning individual spots in the Division 3 boys race are sectional champion Andrew Scheer, a junior, and his brother, freshman Isaac Scheer of Marshfield Columbus Catholic, and Iola-Scandinavia sophomore Charlie Vater.
The Colby (Daisy Feiten, Willow Oehmichen, Mercedes Sarkkinen, Trinity Severson, Makenna Hermann, Reagan Schraufnagel, and Pearl Feiten) and Wisconsin Rapids Assumption (Ainara Sainz de Rozas, Grace Dolan, Clara Kubis, Maddie Meinel, Brooklyn Schoenick, Aislinn Dolan, and Cristin Casey) girls team will take part in the Division 3 girls race.
Also qualifying for the Division 3 girls were Auburndale senior Jordyn Karl and Marathon senior Julianna Thurs.
All three girls team champions from last year’s fall state meet are back to defend titles – Kaukauna in Division 1, Winneconne in Division 2, and Lancaster in Division 3. Middleton, the winner of the Division 1 title in the alternate fall season held in the spring of 2021, also qualified this fall and brings with them the individual champion from spring in Lauren Pansegrau.
Also in the Division 1 field is another state champion, Madison West’s Genevieve Nashold, who won the state title as a freshman in 2018.
Senior Kayci Martensen of Southwestern/Benton/Cuba City is the two-time reigning champion in Division 2, and two former state champions are in the Division 3 girls field - senior Brooklyn Luebke of Manitowoc Lutheran returns as the defending champion, and senior Abby Bartel of Weyauwega-Fremont seeks to regain the stride that won her gold in 2019.
Division 1 fall boys team champion Oconomowoc returns to defend its title, and La Crosse Aquinas in Division 3 is searching for its fourth-straight state boys title after winning the Division 2 crown last year, and Division 3 titles in 2018 and 2019.
Senior Parker Schneider of Durand is also back to defend his 2020 Division 3 individual title.
The Division 2 boys race kicks off the day at noon, followed by the Division 1 boys race at 12:35 p.m., Division 3 boys at 1:10 p.m., Division 2 girls at 1:45 p.m., Division 1 girls at 2:25 p.m. and Division 3 girls at 3:05 p.m. Awards ceremonies for each division begin at 3:20 p.m.
The WIAA uses GoFan Ticketing for all digital and cashless tickets. Admission is $9 plus online fees for adults and students. All tickets must be redeemed on a mobile device. To purchase tickets, visit the WIAA website at https://www.wiaawi.org/Tickets.