After having their Sept. 4 meet at Marshfield flooded out, an energetic Tomah High School boys and girls cross country teams got a lot done at races in Madison and Neillsville.
Seven boys and girls runners achieved personal records at the Madison West Invitational Saturday at Lake Farm County Park in Madison.
Four of the personal records came on the boys side, where Caleb Lenning led the Timberwolves with a time of 17:29 over the 5,000-meter (3.1-mile) course. He was 18th overall.
Two other Tomah boys finished in the top half of the field. Eugene Peterson was 24th in 17:45, and Coy Nelson was 30th in 18:19.
Rounding out the Tomah varsity were Weston Boettcher (18:28), Kale Gnewikow (19:15), Matthew Holtz (19:20) and Thor Lass (20:09). Boettcher, Gnewikow and Lass all set personal records.
Tomah finished seventh among the 10 boys teams.
“This was a very fast race with some very strong competition,” Tomah coach Jon Heesch said.
Team scores: Madison West 28, Monona Grove 56, Verona 79, Madison Edgewood 131, Madison East 131, Stoughton 140, Tomah 161, Waunakee 214, Janesville Parker 251, Madison Country Day 321.
The Timberwolves also fielded a complete junior varsity team, which was led by Micah Winchell with a time of 21:30. He was followed by Daniel Swanson (21:52), Charlie Ella (21:54), Austin Lyden (22:18), Sabin Koss (22:45), Calvin Zeps (23:47) and Samuel Burbach (22:56).
The Tomah girls were led by Brooke Bakken with a time of 22:56. She was followed by teammates Brooke Lucka (25:57), Brielle Harmel (26:01), Jenna Hausman (26:33) and Reyna Herold (27:44). Hausman’s time was a personal record.
The Timberwolves were missing their top runner, Hannah Wilcox-Borg, who was sidelined by an illness. Heesch was happy with how the other runners responded.
“We only had five girls run the race, and they all raced very strong,” Heesch said. “They pushed themselves and finished their races with big kicks.”
Team scores: Madison West 42, Monona Grove 53, Waunakee 70, Stoughton 71, Oregon 126, Madison Edgewood 200, Madison East 205, Tomah 238.
Lake Farm is the site of the Oct. 20 Division 1 Sectional, and Heesch welcomed the opportunity to get a preview of the course.
“It was a great trial run for Sectionals and also a great opportunity for the teams to run against some stronger competition,” Heesch said. “I am proud of how they went out there and worked and pushed through some sloppy course conditions. I am looking forward to being able to race again down there and show the other teams in our sectional what we are capable of.”
Wilcox-Borg was still sidelined Tuesday, but Bakken turned in a strong performance as Tomah’s number-one runner at Levis Mound Nordic Center. Bakken was 19th out of 86 runners in a combined varsity/junior varsity race. Her time was 24:04.
Tomah’s other runners were Lucka (25:33), Hausman (26:37), Josina Kolrich (30:19) and Lexi Chambers (31:39).
Medford placed all seven of its runners in the top 10 and easily won the girls race. Team scores: Medford 23, Chippewa Valley 92, Loyal/Greenwood 96, Sparta 103, Neillsville/Granton 121, Eau Claire Regis 164, Osseo-Fairchild 172, Tomah 173.
Alma Center Lincoln, Augusta, Bangor, Pittsville and Cadott fielded incomplete teams.
Tomah’s boys finished second out of 13 teams. The Timberwolves had two of the top three finishers and placed four in the top 10.
Peterson was the first Tomah runner to cross the finish line. He was second in a field of 113 with a time of 17:38.
Lenning was third in 18 minutes flat.
Tomah’s other top-10 runners were Nelson (7th, 18:11) and Eric Tollefson (10th, 18:21).
The Timberwolves’ other runners were Boettcher (19:20), Holtz (20:13), Jesse Smith (20:32), Gnewikow (20:43), Lass (20:47), Winchell (20:59), Lyden (21:40), Ella (22:12), Swanson (23:32), Koss (24:20), Zeps (25:40), Eric Wilcox-Borg (27:57) and Burbach (34:38).
Team scores: Medford 29, Tomah 45, Sparta 91, Neillsville/Granton 158, August 161, Chippewa Valley 172, Eau Claire Regis 178, Bangor 212, Caddot 220, Osseo-Fairchild 246, Loyal/Greenwood 283, Pittsville 348, Alma Center Lincoln 389.
“Our athletes are running really well right now and learning how to improve during races,” Heesch said. “I am happy with how we have performed as a team this season and the trajectory that our athletes are on. The athletes are hungry; each race out they are motivated and determined to bring home as many medals as we can and also bring home a team trophy. I am proud of their hard work.”
The Timberwolves return to action Saturday at the Brookwood Invitational starting at 9 a.m.
Tomah Journal editor Steve Rundio can be reached at email@example.com.