Boys Cross Country: Dominating Efforts

Madison La Follette attempts to win its third consecutive Division 1 boys title, while Port Washington and La Crosse Aquinas are the defending champions in D-2 and D-3, respectively.

Unlike in the girls competitions, the 2007 boys WIAA state cross country meets were runaway victories in all three divisions at The Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids last October.

In Division 1, Madison La Follette waltzed to its second consecutive championship, outdistancing perennial powerhouse Stevens Point. Port Washington dethroned four-time defending titlist Shorewood in the Division 2 race. And in Division 3, La Crosse Aquinas claimed the trophy.

Here's a breakdown of how those competitions went and a little of what to expect as the 2008 season unfolds.

Division 1

Domination might not even do justice in describing the Lancers' performance as they placed their best five runners in the top 18 positions—out of the 20 schools participating in the team portion—and their Nos. 6 and 7 competitors grabbed the 19th and 20th spots.

La Follette's senior-laden contingent included the first-place finisher (and third overall) in Andy Buchanan, who clocked a 16:01.9. For scoring purposes, John Prusynski took third, Hayden Lamb captured 10th, Alex Brill finished in 12th and Garrett Eklof wound up 18th.

That gave the Lancers 44 points, which outpaced the Pointers, who finished with 139.

Stevens Point has won eight crowns overall, including 1994, 1997-98 and 2003. But it couldn't catch La Follette.

La Follette's Andy Buchanan

Point's scorers were John Pliska in seventh, Nate Hatton in 21st, Jordan King in 28th, Jack Senefeld in 41st and Bryan Zdroik in 42nd.

La Follette must reload after five of its seven participants graduated, while Stevens Point lost only one of its competitors.

The top two individual showings came from Appleton North's Elliot Krause (15:37.4) and Tomah's Derek Storkel (15:54.8).

Thirty-one of the top 50 overall finishers graduated, so this year's field appears to be wide open.

Among the results so far this season, the host Warhawks, who finished ninth at state last year, outdistanced Waukesha West and Milwaukee King in the Arrowhead Invite. West and King had captured fourth and fifth at state, respectively. Earlier, Arrowhead finished behind Menomonee Falls at the Betz Memorial meet at West Allis Hale.

Also, La Follette finished nine points behind league rival Madison West in the overall standings and by five points in the D-1 scoring at the Verona Invitational.

Division 2

The Pirates captured four of the top eight spots to offset Shorewood's two top-five finishers and pull away from the Greyhounds by a 36-67 margin in the team portion that featured 16 schools.

Port Washington's bevy of runners included Jack Hackett, who finished second (16:25.3) to overall winner Kevin McCollow of Shorewood (16:22.9). Evan Ross took third among those in the team competition, while Mark Allen placed fourth, Colin Zauner took eighth and Ethan Jones broke the tape in 19th.

Besides McCollow, the Greyhounds' other scorers were Andrew Erickson in fifth, Peter Drews in 16th, Ben Tyler in 17th and Brian Valusek in 28th.

Port Washington lost Hackett and Zauner to graduation but should remain formidable. Meanwhile, Shorewood, which edged Monroe and Catholic Memorial by two and five points, respectively, to win the 2006 championship, must replace Erickson, Valusek and No. 6 runner Brian Lee.

Nearly 30 of the top 50 overall finishers were non-seniors, so this fall should prove interesting to say the least.

The Pirates captured first place in the D-2 standings at the Verona Invite on Sept. 6.

Division 3

Aquinas runners grabbed three of the first 13 spots among runners competing for the 16 schools entered in the team portion, which helped them register 78 points compared to Webster's 115.

The Blugolds' best finishers were Zachary Wilhelmy in second (fifth overall) in 16:32.6, Payton Sterba in seventh and Sam Simones in 13th. Rounding out their scorers were Tripp Watson in 26th and Luke Schuttenhelm in 30th.

Scoring for the Tigers were Peter Walsh in first (third overall) in 16:22.4, Quentin Johnson in 18th, Jack Taylor in 20th, Brian Gibbs in 35th and Bryan Krause in 41st.

Sean Kutz of Grantsburg was the overall individual champion with a 16:18.2 clocking, which bested Paul Hetke of Chetek, who finished in 16:22.2.

Thirty-two of the top 50 overall placers have graduated, which opens the competitions up considerably for '08.

Aquinas took third behind Platteville and Lakeside L

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