“This is one of our favorite meets of the year,” Viroqua cross country coach Scott Benzing said after his Blackhawks harriers competed in the Nightfall Cross Country Classic event hosted by Wisconsin Dells High School and ran under the lights at the Spring Brook Golf Course, Friday, Sept. 28.
“Portable lighting is brought in to light the course and the atmosphere is totally different from every other meet we attend,” Benzing said.
The Blackhawks performed as if it were their favorite event as well. “Every one of our athletes turning in their best times of the season,” according to Benzing. “The combination of the flat course, cool weather, great competition and racing in the dark provided for many terrific performances.”
The Viroqua girls placed third in a challenging Division 2 field, the best finish ever for the Hawks at the event. Senior Jillian Weston, returning to form after an early season injury, finished with her best time of the fall campaign 19:09, capturing a second-place medal. “Jillian ran a tremendous race and continues to get stronger every race,” Benzing said.
Josie Dobbs established a new personal best record, running to a 7th place individual medal in a time of 20:39. Caitlin Fox earned a 17th place medal with a season best time 21:36. Xana Leum also posted a career best time, cruising the course in 22:47. Personal best times were also turned in by Angie Harnish (23:46) and Sophia Kimble (23:53). “They are a talented group of kids who are getting better every time they set foot on a race course,” Benzing said. “Due to injury and illness they have not competed together as a full team in very many races this season and I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do once they are back to full strength.”
The entire boys team ran to personal-best records at the meet. Sophomore Andrew Quackenbush continued to lead the boys, as he has done all season, breaking the 18-minute barrier for the first time in his career covering the 5K course in 17:54. Josh Frye (18:30) shattered his career best time by almost 30 seconds, while Henry Roels (19:13),Cale Anderson (19:29) and Sam Urch (19:48) all broke the 20-minute barrier for the first time in their careers. Freshman Bennie Fergot also eclipsed the 20-minute mark for the first time in his career with a time of 19:58 and Brody Steele recorded a time of 20:45.
Urch continues to impress with each race this season eclipsing a previous personal best time for the fourth time this year.
“These guys are working hard and continue to improve at every meet,” Benzing said “They are working well together as a team and are really pushing themselves to improve.”
Following a race at Arcadia, Saturday, Oct. 6, the Hawks will prepare for the Coulee Conference meet to be held in Ettrick and hosted by G-E-T on Saturday, Oct. 13, before beginning WIAA Sectional competition at Colby, Saturday, Oct. 20.