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December 4, 2020

10/29/2020 2:02:00 PM
Iowa-Grant's Nick Connolly to make 4th state cross country trip

For the fourth consecutive year Iowa-Grant will be represented by Nick Connolly at the WIAA State Cross Country Champiomships this Saturday.
The Panther senior finished runner-up last weekend at the Sectional meet and will join SWAL team entrant Darlington at the meet.
Connolly will run at 10:10 a.m. Saturday at West Salem.
Individuals and teams will run in three sections beginning with girls at 9:30 a.m. with the final boys entrants running at 4:10 p.m.
2-Nick Connolly, 17:03.2
(Qualifies for State Meet)
9-Mason Aide, 18:18.0
NOTE:Nick Connolly, Iowa-Grant senior finished second to Cashton's Jarrett Carpenter who toured the course with a time of 16:45.3. Nick trailed the senior throughout the run as Carpenter's pace was 5:24 and Nick's was 5:30.
SWAL competitor Darlington and Brookwood both had 38 points with Boscobel next at 60 and New Lisbon with 85.
11-Hope Connolly, 21:14.5
NOTE: Hope is the sophomore sister of I-G's boys runner Nick Connolly. Winner of the girls race was Fennimore's Brynlee Nelson, a senior, who ran the course in 19:59.3.
Lancaster and Kickapoo/LaFarge both totaled 42 points with Fennimore close with 4 points. Cashton ran as a team and finished with 85 points.
Iowa-Grant coach Jake Winkler taalked about th emeet and season saying, "I'm very proud of all three runners we had racing at sectionals. I know for Hope and Mason, it is hard to come this far to have the season end, but they've both got two more years of great racing in front of them. For Nick, it's so rewarding to see him at the top of his game, stringing together incredible race after incredible race. He's had such an amazing four years. He pointed out that he only had one race in high school where he missed out on medaling. In those four years, it's been truly special to get to see him grow in confidence and improve his times year by year.
"Hope got out aggressively early on, which is something we've been trying to focus on. She put herself in a position to be in the mix. Although she improved her place among those who were in the subsectional with her, that top pack was too far ahead. She finished as the 7th individual, and 11th overall. I think with the confidence that she's gained this year, she's going to have a really strong year next year. She's gotten so much more competitive and deliberate with her racing, which has paid off really well this year.
"On the boy's side, Nick finished in 2nd place overall, behind fellow senior Jarret Carpenter of Cashton. We don't' see Cashton too often, but we knew Jarret, who finished 9th at state last year, was the real deal. Nick got out strong, but Jarret made a move at about ¾ of a mile and broke away. For most of the race, Mason was just out of the front pack. It's frustrating because I know that Mason would have qualified on a good day. He didn't look like his normal self, but still ran a solid race to finish as the 7th individual and 9th overall. He's done so well again this year, that I forget that he's only a Sophomore. I know he's ready to take that next step and be our #1 next year.
"In both the boys and girls races, it was really tight competition, which made for exciting races. Both team races ended in ties for 1st and 2nd, and the Fennimore girls were just 3 points back from those teams. On the girls side, Riverdale Senior Elizabeth Husker just missed qualifying for state by .2 seconds. It's wild that a race that plays out over 5,000 meters can end up being so close.
"For Nick, State is this Saturday in West Salem. This is his 4th straight appearance in the State meet. State Cross Country is being held at 3 separate venues, one for each division. Although the format is different, we're still so excited for the chance to compete. At the start of the year, it seemed like we were going to have dual meets, probably no Conference meet, sectionals and state seemed out of the question, but here we are. Although there are critics of this year's format, if you told me in August that we'd be able to have the State meet, I'm not sure I would have believed you. Nick has a legitimate shot at finishing in the top 5 this year. It's going to be unusual because there are three "sessions", so times are combined from those three to get overall places. I feel fortunate that we're in a great session, and Nick is going to have some great runners to compete against."

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