September 18, 2023 at 11:20 a.m.

Dodge-Point girls 2nd, boys 8th at River Valley Cross Country Invite

Iowa-Grant’s boys cross country team took 4th in the Small School Division at the River Valley Cross Country Meet Saturday, September 9. The girls team finished 8th.

Fennimore boys won with 23 points to Boscobel’s 95 and Albany’s 111. The Panthers posted 120, led by Bret Connolly’s runner-up finish in 17:05. Fennimore’s Isaac Henkel was the winner in 16:55.

The rest of the Panther finishes were: Noah Lange 12th in 18:18, C.J. Straka 20th in 18:/47, Jason Bartolo-Garcia 27th in 19:24, Everett Zimmer 59th in 20:49, Myles Pettit 61st in 21:02 and Brekem Stecklein 72nd in 21:57.

Rounding out the team scores were: Brookwood 181, Necedah 185, Darlington 195, Lancaster 200, Prairie du Chien 236, River Ridge 243, Wauzeka-Steuben 276, Hillsboro 288, St. Ambrose Academy 320 and Pecatonica-Argyle 326.

Scores for Pecatonica-Argyle were: Grant Kuberski 40th in  19:56, Eli Harris 65th in 21:30, Samuel Koch 70th in 21:51, Trevor Doescher 74th in 22:03, Aidan Gruenenfelder 77th in 22:05, Garrett Philipson 82nd in 22:30 and Braelyn Meinert 87th in 23:12.

Darlington won the Small School girls division with 61 points to Lancaster’s 66. The Redbirds had the top two runners in Adalee Berget (19:15) and Raquel Rueter (20:12)

Then came Brookwood 118, Boscobel 122, Fennimore 150, Viroqua 165, Prairie du Chien 207, Iowa-Grant 247, Necedah 268, Pecatonica-Argyle 276, Albany 289, River Ridge 297, Wauzeka-Steuben 298, North Crawford 345 and Palmyra-Eagle 377.

Makaya McCarthy took 30th in 23:15 to pace the Iowa-Grant. She was followed by Amiah Fisher 43rd in 23:24, Meagan Cullen 50th in 23:58, Lillian Warne 55th in 24: 55, Adriana Jelle 60th in 25:17, Rylee Stecklein 77th in 27:07 and Angelina Peat 78th in 27:14.

Pec-Argyle was led by Loretta Tisch who was 29th in 22:34. Then came Anna Tisch 51st in 24:02, Maddy Webster 63rd in 25:43, Sophie Howard 66th in 26:19, Mazie Theorin 67th in 26:25 and Aleah Harris 85th in 28:46.

Iowa-Grant coach Jake Winkler taked about the meet.

“This is one of the larger invites in the region and has some great teams competing every year. 

“The boys team finished 4th out of 14 teams – with Conference opponents Fennimore, Boscobel, and Albany finishing 1-2-3.  Fennimore scored 23 points, which is tough to compete with.  Junior Bret Connolly continued his impressive start with another top 3 finish. Bret did a great job of getting out with that lead pack which is so important in large races.  Out of all the results I could find from previous years, this is the best time and finish that an Iowa-Grant runner has had at this meet. A 17:05 in the third race of the season is nuts and is a testament to the work that Bret has been putting in. Our 2-4 guys really stepped up and had incredible races, as well, with some huge PRs. Noah, C.J., and Jason really answered the call – I am so excited to see how they continue to improve. To finish in 4th place at this meet without the injured Will Fulton, who has been our 3-4 guy this year,  is huge for us. If we can find a way to get our 5-7 guys to close the gap a bit we’re in really good shape.  I really believe that we’re going to see significant improvement from that group and it’s going to pay off for this group.

“The girls team finished 8th out of 15 teams with Darlington and Lancaster finishing 1-2. This meet is a great reminder how loaded our Conference and Sectional are with talent.  Makaya McCarthy once again led the way for the Panthers with another new PR. She has dropped nearly a minute each race so far, which has been great to see. She, along with the four other newcomers, are learning each time they race and it is paying off for them.  It’s also been great having so much in-team competition – it has really elevated the whole group, with our returning runners dropping significant time at this meet from last year as well. Going forward, we’ve got to keep trying to improve in each meet and to continue to push each other in practice. 

“Overall, I’m really excited with where we are at this point in the season. While it would be great to finish in the top 2 or 3 in the past few meets on the boys side, I feel like we’re in a position where we are going to see some significant improvement and move into those spots. For the girls, I am seeing consistent improvement which is really encouraging. We’ve got two meets this week with drastically different courses, so that will be fun to see how the kids respond to those meets.”

Pecatonica-Argyle coach JasonKlocek talked about his team at River Valley.

“I thought we had a strong day. We put in some extra work last week in practice with the loss of the Boscobel meet due to heat and it paid off. The boys had their best run collectively this season. Grant Kuberski broke the 20 minute mark for the first time in his young career, and the rest of the young core did well. Eli Harris is coming along, and Trevor Doescher and Aidan Gruenenfelder ran their best.

“I loved the fact that we had a full ladies team. It’s rare we get that, and I wish we could more often because they are really good and their top 10 finish as a team shows that. The Tisch sisters ran well, Maddy Webster was at her best, so was Sophie Howard and Mazie Theoren.”