The Norse boys and girls cross country athletes participated at Janesville on Saturday, Sept. 23. The start of the fall season felt more like the heart of summer with temperatures in the 90s and heat index numbers hitting triple digits when Westby cross country athletes traveled to the Midwest Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 23. The Midwest Invitational draws many Division 1 and 2 schools from across the state.
Head Coach Brian Huebner said the heat is a shock to the system for runners and isn’t beneficial to athletes this time of the year, yet he was pleased at how well Westby athletes handled the heat.
By 11:30 a.m. when JV girls race began the heat spiked and kids carried water or received water as they ran. As that JV girls race progressed it became obvious it was no longer safe to run and tournament officials called off the boys JV race.
“No one can really prepare for the extreme jump in temperatures and humidity and a couple of schools had many of their runners go down due to heat related symptoms,” Huebner said.
Girls varsity runners finished 15 out of 43 teams. Janesville Craig won the race, followed by Wisconsin Dells and Arrowhead. Laura Beghin (Dells) placed second individually with a time of 18:37.
Westby seniors Julianne Call and Abbey Wedwick were neck and neck at the finish line. Call finished 51st with a time of 20:57.0. Call’s time was :56 faster than last year. Wedwick improved her time by :25 seconds finishing the race in 20:57.9, placing her 53rd.
Also for Westby: 60, Sydney Sherry 21:14; 117, Justice Franks 22:21; 123, Erinn Sebon 22:28; 128, Valeria Nussbaumer 22:41; 154, Lexi Crume 23:21.
The Westby freshman and sophomore girls team placed 15th. The top five JV girls were Ellan Johnson, Grace Hebel, Alli Weninger, Annika Seland, Melory Berg.
Madison LaFollette won the boys race followed by Arrowhead and Sun Prairie. As a team Westby boys finished 29th.
Senior Hayden Fredrickson finished strong individually in sixth place with a time of 16:11. Rounding out Westby’s team scores were: 161, John Lucas 18:56; 184, Kade Sherry 19:22; 206, Derek Helgeson 19:59; 207, Kin Hamilton 20:01; 216, Griffin Grass 20:10; 234, Evan Phillips 21:01.
The Westby freshman and sophomore boys team finished 23rd. Kooper Lipski led the boys with a time of 20:53. He was followed by Manuel Chavez who ran his first race of the year finishing with a time of 21:29. Rounding out the team were Luke Bjorklund, Lars Gretebeck, Conner Vatland and Levi Hamilton.
“ At end of day we accomplished three of our four goals for the race. We had great efforts by everyone involved and most importantly no one was adversely impacted by the heat,” Huebner said.
Westby travels to Wisconsin Dells on Friday, Sept. 29.