Perfect weather conditions greeted runners at the 33rd annual DeForest Cross Country Invite on Sept. 5.
The DeForest boys made the best of the ideal conditions to finish in second place. Their 50 points put them behind only Sauk Prairie (38).
“This was the largest guys team to ever finish with 38 runners,” DeForest boys coach Joe Parker said. “Of those, 21 had lifetime bests. Our team place is something we hope to build on. Sauk got out really aggressive and it paid off. They have some depth that certainly makes them the team to beat in the conference this year.”
Wisconsin Rapids (89) finished in third place, while Waunakee (101) and Berlin (134) rounded out the top five.
The Lady Norskies finished in eighth place with 197 team points.
“It was the best weather we’ve had that I can remember,” Lady Norski coach Chris Smith said. “Some of our girls had real nice races, showing marked improvement from the Milwaukee meet. As a team, we just went out way too conservatively. The competition literally ran away from us in the first mile and there is just not enough distance left to make up so much ground we gave too easily at the start. We’ll be making some big changes for the next meet for certain when it comes to how we get out of the starting gate.”
Shorewood claimed the girls’ title with 45 points, followed in the top five by Wisconsin Rapids (64), Monona Grove (68), Waunakee (78) and Baraboo (165).
John Roth led the way for the DeForest boys. He became the first Norski to win an individual title since 2015.
“I thought I did okay,” Roth said. “I could have held on more at the end, but there is always the next race.”
Roth clocked in at 16 minutes, 44.69 seconds to edge out Sauk Prairie’s Hudson Haas (16:46.25) for the crown.
“His move at the mile mark gave him enough separation to hold off the charging Sauk runner,” Parker said.
The Norskies had Elijah Bauer (17:51.22) and Jackson Grabowski (18:07.70) finish back-to-back in seventh and eighth place, respectively.
DeForest also had Nathan Neeley (15th, 18:31.44), Ferris Wolf (19th, 18:39.56) and Shane VanDommelen (20th, 18:46.52) place in the top 20. Neeley and Wolf factored into the team score.
Logan Peters was the only Lady Norski to land in the top 20. She finished in 21:23.88 to place 13th overall.
“Freshman Logan Peters improved by more than a minute over our first meet,” Smith said. “She’s responding well to the longer distance of high school racing.”
Grace Roth (23:28.61) was the next Norski runner to cross the finish line. She came in 49th place.
“Junior Grace Roth had a nice bounce back race since last week,” Smith said. “She likely ran the most intelligent race she has had to date.”
The Lady Norskies’ Jocelyn Pickhardt (23:48.35) and Lydia Bauer (23:51.34) place back-to-back in 54th and 55th place, respectively.
Carleen Snow (23:52.23) closed out DeForest’s team score by placing 57th, while teammate Erica Bodden (23:58.30) came in 59th.
Shorewood’s Belle Lozier won the girls’ individual title with her time of 20:12.11.
The Norskies will be back in action this Saturday at 8:30 a.m. at the River Valley Invite.
DeForest will take part in the Badger Challenge in Watertown at 5:10 p.m. on Sept. 17.
“We’ve got some real work in front of us in terms of becoming a tight knit, cohesive team,” Smith said. “There are pieces there that if we can find everyone’s right fit we’ll be okay by season’s end.”