The basics

What: The 106th WIAA state boys cross country meet and the 45th state girls meet.

When: Saturday.

Where: The Ridges Golf Course, 2311 Griffith Ave., Wisconsin Rapids.

Schedule: Boys — Division 1, noon; Division 3, 12:35 p.m.; Division 2, 1:10 p.m. Girls — Division 1, 1:45 p.m.; Division 3, 2:25 p.m.; Division 2, 3:05 p.m.

Format: Boys and girls will run a 5,000-meter course.

Tickets, parking: Admission is $6 for adults and students. No spectator parking is available at The Ridges or on nearby streets. For fan shuttle information, visit https://bit.ly/2ECjqIN.

On the Web: Live meet results, preview information, lineups, coaches’ names, and an archive of past results can be found at https://www.wiaawi.org/Sports/BoysCrossCountry.aspx

Last year’s champions

Division 1 — Teams: Middleton boys; Sun Prairie girls. Individuals: Drew Bosley, Mequon Homestead; Peyton Sippy, Janesville Craig.

Division 2 — Teams: Valders boys; Freedom girls. Individuals: Kavanaugh FitzPatrick, Minocqua Lakeland; Dana Feyen, Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau.

Division 3 — Teams: Durand boys; Dodgeland girls. Individuals: David Vannucchi, Onalaska Luther; Marissa Ellenbecker, Edgar.

The lowdown

Division 1 boys

Teams: Eleven teams return from last year, including six of the top 10 finishers. Middleton, ranked No. 1 for much of the season (aside from a short run by Madison West atop the coaches’ state rankings), returns five who ran on last year’s championship team. Last year’s runner-up, Stevens Point, has two returning runners, and fifth-place finisher Sun Prairie has four returnees. West returns three runners from the team that took sixth last year. Sussex Hamilton and Hudson, eighth and ninth last year, each return four runners, and Eau Claire Memorial (14th) and Slinger (17th) each return five runners from last year.

Individuals: The favorite is Mequon Homestead senior Drew Bosley, who has committed to NCAA Division I power Northern Arizona after winning the championship last year (15:40). He also took second in 2016 and seventh in 2015. Middleton is led by seniors Caleb Easton (a Northern Arizona University recruit who was eighth last year) and Michael Madoch (10th last year), along with a strong group of rising underclassmen. Last year’s third-place finisher, Kimberly senior Rowen Ellenberg, returns along with Neenah senior Matthew Meinke (fourth) and Germantown junior Ben Schnoor (sixth). Sectional champion Bryan Bloomquist of Janesville Craig, a sophomore, could break into the top five, and Sun Prairie junior Ash Francis is a potential top-10 finisher.

Sun Prairie’s Kate Kopotic, muddy from a slide in the slick, rainy conditions at Verona High School, places third in the girls varsity race with a 5,000-meter time of 19:48.75 at the Verona Invitational on Saturday.

Division 2 boys

Teams: Back this year are nine of last year’s 16 team qualifiers, and four of the top six. Valders brings back three runners from last year’s team, which topped Dodgeville/Mineral Point for the team championship. Three top Rock Valley Conference teams, McFarland (sixth last year), Jefferson (seventh) and East Troy (11th) are back, and McFarland and Jefferson each return six runners from last year’s teams. Hammond St. Croix Central (16th) also returns six. Green Bay Notre Dame (fourth) and La Crosse Logan (fifth) each return four individuals.

Individuals: A rare wide-open race is expected, as West Salem sophomore Charlie McKinney (eighth last year) is the only returning runner who placed in the top 10 in 2017. That leaves the door open to returnees such as McFarland senior Andrew Pahnke (12th last year), Portage senior Tyler Jones, East Troy senior Henry Chapman, Shorewood junior Lucas Florsheim and Logan junior Zack Slevin. Junior Henry Keith is back for Dodgeville/Mineral Point.

Division 3 boys

Teams: Seven of the top 10 teams return, led by Darlington — which is hoping to return to the top of the podium after a strong of six consecutive championships was snapped with a runner-up finish last year. Last year’s eighth-place team, Onalaska Luther, is now a top challenger with six returning runners. Hartland Lake Country Lutheran (fifth last year), Chippewa Falls McDonell (sixth), Brillion (seventh) and Wisconsin Rapids Assumption (10th) each return five individuals from last year.

Individuals: Onalaska Luther senior David Vannucchi aims to go out on top after winning the last two individual titles (following a 13th-place finish in 2015). Other runners back from top-10 finishes last year are seniors Adam Rzentkowski of Rosholt (second last year, fourth in 2016); Isaac Wegner of Durand (third last year), Payton Heinberg of Darlington (sixth last year) and Luther senior Sam Larson (10th last year). The only area qualifiers are Madison Country Day co-op senior Colin Green and Poynette junior Elias Ritzke.

Division 1 girls

Teams: Sun Prairie not only has a three-peat to run for, but a grudge to settle. The Cardinals, two-time defending state champs, were ranked No. 1 by the state coaches throughout the season — until the final week, when Muskego slipped into the top spot. It will take quite a performance to beat the Cardinals, who return four of their top five finishers from last year and swept the top three spots in last week’s sectional. But Muskego was runner-up last year and returns six of that team’s runners, including two top-four finishers. It will be a race filled with experience: Each of last year’s top six finishers, and nine of the top 10, return. Onalaska (third last year) and Hudson (sixth last year) each return six runners, Waukesha West (fifth) has five runners back and Janesville Craig (fourth) returns four runners, but lost individual champ Peyton Sippy to graduation.

Individuals: Muskego sophomore Kate Sperka was the state runner-up last year, and senior teammate Kate Jochims was fourth last year, third in 2016 and 10th in 2015. Sun Prairie will be led by sophomore Kate Kopotic (12th last year), junior Autumn Dushack (seventh), senior Maddie Thompson (24th) and sophomore Hannah Ray (28th). But one of the main runners to watch will be Madison West freshman Genevieve Nashold, who has never lost a race and posted the state’s best sectional time (18:33) last week, four seconds ahead of Onalaska sophomore Kora Malececk’s time in her sectional. Malececk was 11th at state last year. Other area top-10 hopefuls include Middleton freshman Lauren Pansegrau, Waunakee senior Reagan Hoopes, Fort Atkinson junior Jenna Lovejoy and Monona Grove sophomore Peighton Nelson.

Division 2 girls

Teams: Five of last year’s top 10 finishers return — including defending champion Freedom, which has five of last year’s runners. Wisconsin Dells, last year’s runner-up, has three runners back, and Lake Mills returns five runners from last year’s third-place team. Grafton (11th last year) returns six of its seven runners from 2017.

Individuals: Experience is expected to reign, as the list of seven returning top-10 finishers is led by two-time defending champ (and 2015 runner-up) Dana Feyen of Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau. Back from injury, Wisconsin Dells junior Laura Beghin will push Feyen after finishing second to Feyen each of the last two years. Appleton Xavier’s Annie Higgins was third last year and fourth in 2016. Also back are Denmark senior Leah Kralovetz (fifth last year), Jefferson senior Mariah Linse (sixth), Little Chute senior Lindsay Grams (seventh) and Greendale Martin Luther sophomore Jordan Koepke (10th). Area qualifiers are Lodi senior Isabelle Clary and juniors McKenzie Fillner of Evansville and Maya Habben of Watertown Luther Prep.

Division 3 girls

Teams: Of the 16 teams in the state field, 12 are back from last season. The list includes defending champion and 2018 favorite Dodgeland. The Trojans return six runners from last year. Last year’s runner-up, Lancaster, returns three runners; Marshall (third last year) could make a move with five returnees. Bonduel (seventh) and Cashton (10th) also return five of last year’s runners, and Auburndale (fourth) has four state runners back.

Individuals: Six of last year’s top eight finishers return, led by defending champ (and 2016 runner-up) Marissa Ellenbecker, a junior from Edgar. Lancaster senior Lydia Murphy was runner-up each of the last two seasons and took seventh in 2015. Also back are Gillett sophomore Sylvia Hansen (third last year), Bonduel sophomore Kara Troxel (fifth), Dodgeland senior Meygan Benzing (sixth last year, fourth in 2016) and Flambeau senior Rachel Lawton (eighth last year). Also representing the area will be sophomore Katelyn Chadwick of Poynette and juniors Christi Forman of Waterloo and Hannah Constable of Johnson Creek.

Source: The Associated Press

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