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December 2, 2021

11/11/2021 10:16:00 AM
Aide, Connolly run for IG at state meet

Iowa-Grant's two entries in the WIAA Division 3 State Cross Country Championships, Mason Aide and Hope Connolly, both fared well as individuals in the meet held at the Ridge's Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids Saturday.
Aide finished 29th in the D3 boys race while Connolly was 33rd in the girls event, both running against 148 other competitors.
Aide, a junior, toured the course in 17:36.
Valders, the team winner, had the top two finishers. Senior Shane Griepentrog won going away in 15:38.6, topping senior teammate Clay Taylor's 16:14.1 and McDonnell Catholic Central senior Dan Anderson's 16:15.4.Valders won the title with 78 points to runner-up Grantsburg's 85.
Then came Ozaukee 158, Poynette 164, Brookfield Academy 176, Sheboygan Area Lutheran 185, Pacelli 196, Aquinas 210, Spring Valley 213, Boscobel 222, Ladysmith 241, McDonnell Central Catholic 279, Athens 283, Kickapoo/La Farge 297, Marathon 334, Auburndale 339.
On the girls side, Connolly, also a junior, was timed in 20:50.3.
Catholic Central junior Elsie Kmecak won in 19:47.7 over Weyau-wega-Freemont senior Abby Bartel's 19:50.2.
Boscobel won the team title with 71 points to a distant second by Valders with 108.
The other team finshes were: Lourdes Academy 110, Kickapoo/La Farge 139, Catholic Central 173, Lancaster 205, Weyauwega-Fremont 215, Brookfield Academy 223, Durand 237, Assumption 238, Colby 242, Bonduel 254, Colfax 287, Cameron 307, Phillips 309, Grantsburg 352.
Iowa-Grant coach Jake Winkler was happy with his two runners' performances.
"Mason and Hope both ran great races at the State Meet. Both of them finished near the top 20% in their race, which is an amazing accomplishment!
"The State meet is unlike anything they run all year. We definitely go against some great competition throughout the year - we regularly race against Dodge-Point, Boscobel, and Kickapoo-La Farge, all of whom had great teams - but the combination of the weeklong buildup, the insane atmosphere of thousands of screaming fans, the challenging course, and the incredible competition, it's truly electric.
"Strategywise, we had talked about finding that balance between getting out strong and not burning yourself out on the first mile - I thought Hope and Mason both did a great job of that. The first mile is the flattest part of the course, and everybody is pretty amped up for the first mile before they settle into the last 2/3 of the race. They actually ran remarkably similar races - Top 25 first mile, they both fell back a little bit in the 2nd mile, then had strong finishes. I'm sure with this experience, they'll be excited to get back to State again to tinker with their strategy."
He talked about the meet as a whole.
"The State meet itself was entertaining and inspiring. It's well-established that Southwest Wisconsin has some of the best runners in the State, and Saturday really reinforced that! Kayci Martensen cemented herself as one of the best to ever do it with her 3rd straight win, in D2 Dodge-Point girls were State Champs by 1 point, Boscobel girls were State Champs in D3, Dodge-Point and Boscobel boys competed well. I feel fortunate to be able to compete with these teams and I'm looking forward to next season. We've got some lofty goals for next year, and there's a hunger, determination, and urgency that's there. It's easy to talk a big game in the days following the season, but there is real work that needs to happen in the months between now and August 2022."

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