What Lake Mills senior Stacie Dressel accomplished in just two years of competitive running was remarkable. She closed out her career by leading the L-Cats to a 10th-place finish among Division 2 teams with 221 points at the WIAA State Cross Country Championships hosted on The Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids.
The L-Cats ran as a pack again, with just 65 seconds separating the scoring five.
Dressel crossed the line in 51st place in 20 minutes 31 seconds, followed on the team by juniors Lauren Winslow (52nd, 20:33), Brooke Fair (67th, 20:50) and Reese Willie (72nd, 20:59) and freshman Jenna Hosey (109th, 21:46). Juniors Jade Pitta (126th, 22:15) and Ava Wollin (147th, 23:39) turned in the team’s sixth and seventh finishes.
“We ran as a pack better than I have seen earlier in the season,” Lake Mills cross country coach Dan Zaeske said. “Our girls who were running behind Stacie are starting to catch up with her, so we were more of a solid pack today. We were projected to finish 11th. I can’t be prouder of these girls. They deserved to be here. They put in the work.”
Fair said it was hard to breathe in this weather, but was bolstered by the efforts of the pack.
“A couple times I would see Laruen or Stacie in front of me and that really gave me energy,” Fair said. “I feel like just seeing how well my teammates were doing and how close I was to them, and then I heard people cheering for Reese, and I’m like, ‘Get up here, run with me!’”
Willie did, and ran a season-best as a result.
“I used you as a rope,” Willie said to Fair. “Every time I saw you pulling ahead, I followed you. All the summer and winter training really paid off for us this year.”
Lakeside Lutheran freshman Abigail Minning placed 87th in 21:16 in her state debut.
“With brisk conditions and a firm course, the conditions were good for championship running,” Lakeside Lutheran cross country coach Cameron Ausen said. “Abigail capped off a fine inaugural cross country campaign with another nicely executed race. She kept her head in the first mile, moved well during the second mile, and then closed out the day very well by passing 5-6 runners in the final kilometer. She especially managed the hilly section in the middle of the race very well. She had her best finishing kick of the season today.”
Lakeside Lutheran senior August Gresens finished 69th in 17:27 in his second state appearance.
“It wasn’t my best race,” Gresens said. “My sectional race was a lot better, but I’m not disappointed about how I did. I made it to state and that was the goal this year. It was definitely satisfying to get back here.
“I remember I paced with (Catholic Memorial’s) Sean Waldvogel and then I saw Ian Sande in the first mile and I tried to go off him and then passed a lot of people with (Shoreland Lutheran’s) Richard Shafer. Having those people, that I know are good runners, helped me to do well.”
Gresens expects to run collegiately.
“August got out well, but was collected as he gradually moved up through the field,” Ausen said. “Not long after the mile, he was in about 90th place, but was also controlled. August also ran the middle mile well and then made a very good surge about a half mile from the finish, but was hanging on a little bit in the final 200 meters. It was a fine way to cap off an excellent four years of cross country with a season-best time on one of the most challenging courses in the state.”
WIAA DIVISION 2 GIRLS
Team scores — 1, Shorewood, 61; 2, Osceola, 102; 3, Freedom, 149; 4, Medford, 152; 5, Appleton Xavier, 188; 6, Winneconne, 189; 7, Port Washington, 198; 8, Hayward, 205; 9, Tomahawk, 214; 10, Lake Mills, 221; 11, Wisconsin Dells, 237; 12, Little Chute, 250; 13, Mount Horeb, 255; 14, McFarland, 269; 15, Kewaskum, 347; 16, Jefferson, 385.
Top 5 individuals — 1, Martensen, Southwestern co-op, 18:20; 2, Gallagher, Two Rivers, 18:51; 3, Desotell, Green Bay Notre Dame, 18:57; 4, Lozier, Sho, 19:01; 5, Ulrich, Osc, 19:11.
Lake Mills — 51. Dressel 20:31; 52. Winslow 20:34; 67. Fair 20:51; 72. Willie 20:59; 109. Hosey 21:47.
Lakeside Lutheran — 87. Minning 21:17.