WIAA State Cross Country Recap
Area teams make noise at state
By Erik Buchinger
Pyatskowit makes podium
In her second consecutive season in state competition, Clintonville’s senior Kara Pyatskowit came away with a fifth-place finish in the WIAA Division 2 Championship with a time of 19:00.3.
“It was really exciting going into it,” Pyatskowit said. “My goals going into the race were to make podium and hopefully make the top 3. I’m happy that I made podium, but I would’ve liked to have finished a little bit higher.”
Pyatskowit developed a sizeable lead ahead of the pack early in the race but dropped a few spots as the race went along.
“Going into the race, I thought there would be a big pack going out, but there wasn’t,” Pyatskowit said. “If I would’ve held back and stayed with the pack, I think it would’ve ended a little bit differently.”
As a team, Clintonville finished in 13th place with 286 points, and Pyatskowit said the Truckers went through a lot of adversity throughout the season to make it to state.
“When the season started, we knew we had a chance to get the team to state,” Pyatskowit said. “Then we had a lot of setbacks and injuries. Things didn’t go very well during the season, so it was really amazing that we were able to get the team here.”
Pyatskowit said she has received offers from colleges, though she is unsure what her future holds. She said she is thankful for her years on the cross country team.
“It’s really been a great experience,” Pyatskowit said. “I’d just like to thank my teammates and my coach for the great seasons that I’ve had with them and for all the memories and experiences we’ve had.”
Polar Bears on the rise after state competition
Hortonville had a busy day in WIAA Division 1 State Championship competition with the girls’ team qualifying for state along with two boys’ runners.
Hortonville junior Joe Nicholson finished in 139th place with a time of 17:37.8 in his first state appearance to lead the Polar Bears’ duo.
“I did what I came here to do, but I also think that I could’ve done a little bit better,” Nicholson said. “The crowd psyched me out a little bit, and I lost my place. This would have been a heck of a lot harder if I wasn’t running with a friend.”
Nicholson’s sophomore teammate Michael Jarvis had been battling an illness that started two days prior to state competition and wound up finishing 188th in 19:19.4.
“I did the best that I could,” Jarvis said. “I came down with a fever Thursday night, so I’m really tired from that, but I tried my best. I felt I would do a lot better than I did, but things just didn’t go the way I wanted it to. There’s always next year.”
Nicholson said it was fun to see the Polar Bears represented so well in state competition.
“It was really cool because we sent two boys runners, and we got the girls team out to state,” Nicholson said.
The Hortonville girls team finished in 12th place in the WIAA Division 1 Championship with 266 points.
Senior Hannah Lohrenz was the best runner for the Polar Bears with a 13th-place finish in 19:10.3.
“I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to do because I’ve been sick for a lot of the season, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect here,” Lohrenz said. “To come away in the place that I did, I’m really proud.”
Lohrenz said she was happy to be with her teammates competing in state competition.
“It’s such a blessing,” Lohrenz said. “Honestly, I’m so proud that the team could come this year. It’s been so much fun.”
Nicholson said Hortonville has a big offseason ahead of it in hopes to qualify for state competition in 2017 like the girls team did this season.
“We’re planning to do group winter workouts, which I’ll be leading because I’ll be a senior next year,” Nicholson said. “We’ll be working out a lot in the offseason because we were a few points shy from qualifying as a team, so it’s definitely doable next year.”
Watling represents New London
In his second season of cross country, New London senior Robbie Watling reached the WIAA Division 2 State Championship and finished in 66th place in 17:40.5 on Saturday.
“I didn’t get the time I wanted, but I ran smart,” Watling said. “It was good even if though it wasn’t a PR or anything, which is really what I was going for today, but that’s OK.”
A track and field athlete since his freshman year, Watling was wanted on the Bulldogs’ cross country team.
“My coach was really going after me to do join cross country,” Watling said. “He thought he saw potential, but even he was surprised I made it to state.”
Watling said he ran a good race in his junior conference season, which made him recognize his talent.
“I had a great race in conference my junior year, and I just trained all through the offseason, and I got here, so it’s kind of crazy,” Watling said. “After last year’s conference race, I realized if I put in the work, I could go somewhere with this.”
Watling said he never thought he would be in position to compete in state competition when he started with the cross country team.
“I just joined cross country last year, and I didn’t think I’d be here,” Watling said. “I never would’ve expected to do this, but it was a lot of fun.”