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November 12, 2019

11/4/2019 11:51:00 AM
Iowa-Grant boys cross country off to state

It's been 18 years since iowa-Grant's boys cross country team has made an appearance at state (as a team). Following Saturday's Sectional run at Boscobel, they finished runner-up to the host team and will be running Saturday at Wisconsin Rapids in Division 3 at 3:10 p.m.
The Panthers were at state in 1963 and 1967, finishing 4th each time.
There were also there in 1999, 2000 and 2001 under the direction of the late coach Rod Fortney. They won the state tittle in 2000. They were 5th in 1999 and 3rd in 2001.
Boscobel scored 70 points with Iowa-Grant topping Darlington 85-99 for the next slot and a trip to state.
The Panthers had two individuals finish in the top five led by junior Nick Connolly's runner-up spot in 16:43. Freshman Mason Aide was fifth in 17:06.
Seniors Jesse Buroker 17:55, Colin Steffl 18:30 and Kruz Kitelinger 18:44 finished 15th, 29th and 34th.
The other two runners were freshman Owen Laufenberg 46th in 19:06 and junior Nic Pennekamp 78th in 20:23.
Wisconsin Heights/Barneveld senior Christian Patzka won the race in 16:17.
The other four individual finishers to qualify for state were Poynette senior Elias Ritzke 16:52, Wauzeka-Steuben senior Jacob Reichmann 17:05, Fennimore senior Ian Berry 17:09 and Shullsburg junior Niko Glassbrenner 17:30.
The rest of the team scores were: Poynette 114, Wisconsin Heights/Barneveld 164, Wauzeka-Steuben 196, Fennimore 198, Lancaster 200, Pecatonica-Argyle 241, River Ridge 245, Riverdale 252, Parkview 289, Albany 298, Belleville 311, Madison Country Day Co-op 341, De Soto 510, North Crawford 560.
Iowa-Grant coach Jake Winkler said about the boys race, "Coming into the race we knew that Boscobel was going to be tough - they've got a great pack and they were racing on their home course. All week leading up to the race I could tell the boys were ready to race. It felt like an eternity going from Conference to Sectionals. Our areas of focus for the week were to stay relaxed, focused, hungry, and confident - which is easier said than done. I have to give the boys credit, if they were nervous going into the meet they didn't show it."
He added about some individuals, "We had some extremely well-executed races. Nick Connolly got out and tried to stick with Wisconsin Heights /Barneveld's Christian Patzka, which helped propel Nick into a good place in the race. He dropped back into second place at about the first mile and held on to that spot.
"The race of the day has to belong to Freshman Mason Aide, who placed 5th overall, running a personal best of 17:06. He had a different energy on Saturday, he was having fun out there. He dropped over 30 seconds off his best time of the year!
"Senior Jesse Buroker asked me at the end of last season if I thought we could make it to state as a team. I told him that a lot of things would have to go right, but never say never. A lot of things went right this year, but it is all centered around the commitment and perseverance of this team. Everybody played their part perfectly, and now we're headed to state!"
Winkler also pointed out, "This is the first time since 2001 that the Iowa-Grant Boys team has qualified for the state meet. This is also Nick Connolly's third trip to the state meet, he qualified the last two years as an individual. "
The Iowa-Grant girls took ninth out of the field of 16 Saturday.
Lancaster won with 80 points to Darlington's 83 with Boscobel missing qualifying with 95.
Then came Poynette 105, Albany 116, Wisconsin Heights/Barneveld 194, River Ridge 230, Riverdale 245, Iowa-Grant 259, St. Ambrose Academy 264, Fennimore 290, North Crawford 290, Belleville 296, Parkview 326, De Soto 380, Pecatonica-Argyle 407.
Panther freshman Hope Connolly, who was held out of last week's conference race with an injury, lePPher team at 37th in 22:45.
Following her were sophomore Ella Wolff 44th in 23:09, senior Sam McLeer 55th in 24:03, senior Kylie Cutts 56th in 24:09, freshman Evie Whitaker 67th in 24:54, junior Brie Straka 68th in 25:10 and junior Brena Straka 85th in 27:44.

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