WISCONSIN DELLS—Nighttime is prime time for high school cross country.
Tomah High School cross country athletes welcomed the opportunity to run under the lights Friday at the Wisconsin Dells Nightfall Cross Country Classic held at Spring Brook Resort in Wisconsin Dells. The meet began with the Division 1 girls race that started at 7:10 p.m., 20 minutes after sundown.
Runners enjoyed the atmosphere, flat golf course terrain and cool nighttime temperatures.
“It’s my favorite one of the year,” Tomah girls runner Madeline Kline said.
Hannah Wilcox-Borg, Tomah’s fastest girls runner, estimated that conditions reduced times by 30 to 60 seconds for most runners.
“This is always a nice course to run on − probably the best of the season,” she said.
Wilcox-Borg didn’t run a personal record. It was only her second race after starting the season on the injured list, but she still finished sixth out of 231 varsity and junior varsity runners with a time of 19:58.
Alyssa Alden, who ran junior varsity for the Timberwolves, shaved 52 seconds from her personal record and finished in 26:10.
“I felt a lot stronger running at night because it was a little bit colder,” Alden said. “I honestly prefer running later at night.”
Kline said the organization of the race adds to the atmosphere.
“There are lights and music playing − it’s a different race to experience,” she said.
Tomah’s Caleb Lenning was seventh out of 280 runners in the boys race with a time of 17:08.
“It’s a popular meet,” Lenning said. “The course is nice and easy − no hills. It’s the best course we have all year.”
The course was illuminated by portable lights, and while the lighting wasn’t sufficient to play golf, it was more than enough to run cross country. Lenning said he was able to target runners he wanted to stay with.
“There’s enough light to where you can see everybody,” Lenning said.
Wilcox-Borg agreed. When asked how much light was necessary for cross country, she replied, “not much.”
“I like to run at night,” she said. “It’s a really nice time to run.”
As a team, Tomah’s girls finished ninth out of 10 teams in Division 1. Tomah’s other runners were Anna Apathy (21:48), Brooke Bakken (22:12), Jennie Jorgensen (23:26), Brielle Harmel (23:28), Cassie Lenning (23:45) and Kline (23:50).
Team scores: Hartland Arrowhead 41, Janesville Craig 77, Milwaukee King 95, Oshkosh West 127, Brookfield East 135, Oak Creek 138, Hartford Union 195, DeForest 199, Tomah 223, Milwaukee Reagan 271.
Lenning led the Tomah boys to a strong second-place finish. The Timberwolves nearly had all seven of its varsity runners break the 18-minute barrier.
Tomah’s other varsity runners were Jesse Smith (17:29), Eugene Peterson (17:31), Kale Gnewikow (17:43), Coy Nelson (17:56), Weston Boettcher (18:03) and Ty Schanhofer (18:03).
Team scores: Brookfield Central 72, Tomah 87, Lake Geneva Badger 101, DeForest 113, Milwaukee King 123, Hartford 124, Janesville Craig 132, Oshkosh West 167, Milwaukee Reagan 252, Oak Creek 278, Reedsburg 317.
The Timberwolves return to daylight racing Tuesday, Oct. 8 when they host the Jesse Parker Invitational starting at 4 p.m. at Hiawatha Golf Club. The field includes Mauston, Necedah, New Lisbon and Reedsburg.