Craig boys take second in state cross country
WISCONSIN RAPIDS Brian Lawton needed to remind Tommy Meister what the senior standout meant to the Janesville Craig High School boys cross country team.
Meister was feeling mixed emotions after his disappointing individual finish here Saturday in the WIAA state meet at The Ridges Golf Club.
So Lawton, the Cougars’ co-head coach, wrapped his arms around Meister and told him that his seventh-place finish was the key reason why Craig placed second in the Division 1 team standings, the Cougars boys’ highest finish in school history.
With that, Meister succumbed to a big smile and a hug for his coach.
“To be second place as a team, I would imagine as coaches we’d look back and tell those boys in a few years, they’re gonna remember that team stuff a lot more than any individual achievement,” Lawton said.
“They should be so proud of themselves.”
Craig scored 134 points in grabbing the No. 2 spot behind repeat Division 1 champion Hartland Arrowhead’s 71. The Warhawks and Cougars were ranked first and second in the state, respectively, and Arrowhead finished ahead of Craig in four meets this season.
“Arrowhead, they are the clear champions,” Lawton said.
Craig certainly required a strong team performance to hold off La Crosse Logan, which scored 139 points to finish just behind the Cougars for third.
Meister led the way with his seventh-place finish in 16 minutes, 1.12 seconds. Craig junior Spencer Hrycay was 27th (16:23.3), sophomore Evan Lalor took 40th (16:36.09), junior Hunter Salmon placed 52nd (16:46.69), and senior Joe Sarow was 63rd (16:56.31).
“We’re so proud of the boys,” Lawton said. “They work so hard. They do the right things in the classroom, they treat each other well, and they’re great leaders.”
Still, Meister was hoping for a better day.
In his fourth and final trip to state, Meister was aiming to better last year’s second-place finish and close his high school cross country career with an individual title.
But the whole race was a struggle, as Meister failed to break 16 minutes and finished well behind champion Chandler Diffee’s 15:35.47 for Madison La Follette.
After the race, Meister struggled to comprehend what happened.
“Honestly, I’m just confused,” he said. “I really expected the training to come through, the tapering to come through, this week. I felt great before the race and great all week and just got out here … I don’t know.
“Everything just self-destructed. I just didn’t have the legs today.”
Also among Division 1 boys, Janesville Parker junior Dane Tyler placed 73rd individually with a time of 17:01.72.
In the Division 2 boys field, Lakeside Lutheran had a 16th-place team finish, with senior Grey Davis finishing 17th in 16:35.99 to lead the way. Whitewater sophomore Brett Harms (16:28.01) placed 11th in the Division 2 field.
The story on the girls side, and certainly of the entire meet, was the transcendent performance of University Lake School senior Molly Seidel, who joined Suzy Favor (Hamilton) as the only girls to claim four consecutive state titles.
Seidel again won the Division 3 individual championship, breaking her own 4,000-meter state meet record for all divisions with a time of 13:39.59. Seidel set the Division 3 state meet record all four years.
Ranked second nationally among high school females, Seidel ran the fastest 4,000-meter time in state history in the Midwest Invitational at Blackhawk Golf Course in Janesville last month with a mark of 13:19.99, then later shaved that record all the way down to 13:13.
“To me, she could be the best (female high school) runner in the whole United States,” said Kenosha St. Joseph coach Jon Furreness, whose team shares a sectional with University Lake School.
Other individual girls champions were Franklin’s Alexandria Fons in Division 1 and Dodgeville/Mineral Point’s Molly Hanson in Division 2. Ryan McCoy of New Glarus/Monticello took home the boys Division 2 crown, while Darlington’s Tyson Miehe claimed the Division 3 title.
Dodgeville/Mineral Point and Oshkosh Lourdes won their second straight Division 2 and 3 girls team titles, respectively, while the Arrowhead girls made it a Division 1 sweep for the Warhawks.
Wisconsin Lutheran won the Division 2 boys team title, with Darlington capturing the Division 3 crown.