The Poynette and Lodi cross country teams showed off their talents under the lights at the Nightfall Classic in Wisconsin Dells last Friday.
“This is a really unique meet and a great experience for our kids,” Poynette coach Kevin Frehner said. “It may be the only one of its kind in the entire country. The meet is run at night on a golf course. The course is lit up by flood lights and run in the dark with parts of the course lined by Christmas lights.”
The Poynette boys had the top finish at the event. The Pumas finished fourth in Division 3 with 174 team points, which put them behind only Kohler (60), Boscobel (73) and Sheboygan Lutheran (73).
“They had a really solid race as a team,” Frehner said. “They showed great determination all the way down the line.”
Elias Ritzke claimed the individual Division 3 title for Poynette. He had a winning time of 16 minutes, 47.74 seconds.
“Elias Ritzke won this race for the second year in a row,” Frehner said. “Last season, he had to outkick kids at the end to earn the victory. On Friday, he made a strong move in the last half of the race and was able to pull away. It was a very impressive and confident performance. His time is the fifth-best in school history and third-best by a senior.”
The Pumas’ Tucker Johnson (18:12.93) came in 32nd place, while teammate Trent Sickenberger (18:24.48) was 37th.
Trent Chadwick (48th, 18:48.83) and Cash Stewart (56th, 18:57.67) were the final two scoring runners for the Poynette boys, while Logan Bahr (74th, 19:12.69) and Carter Hansen (94th, 19:42.48) also competed in the race.
“The race of the evening on the boys side belonged to Cash Stewart,” Frehner said. “He ran with great confidence and assertiveness to be our fifth runner. He was named the Feet of the Meet.”
The Lodi boys came in eighth in Division 2 with 230 points. Shorewood (69), La Crosse Logan (69) and Deerfield-Cambridge (99) claimed the top three spots in the division.
“The boys moved up five places from last year and four of our top seven broke their personal records,” Lodi coach Kurt Wilson said. “The kids had a great time participating in a race that was held after dark. The course was lit with string lights and portable light posts.”
As he has all season, Parker Heintz led the Blue Devil boys. He came in 23rd with his time of 17:53.25.
The Blue Devils’ Sean Crowder (18:22.11) and Brandon Grover (18:25.67) finished back-to-back in 39th and 40th place, respectively.
Luke Collins (62nd, 19:00.61) and Paul Lins (66th, 19:04.25) were the final two scoring runners for Lodi, while Blaise Zander (67th, 19:05.47) and Mason Marchand (73rd, 19:20.32) were not far off the pace.
Meanwhile, the Lady Blue Devils finished fifth in Division 2 with 160 team points.
“The girls did well considering the tough field,” Wilson said.
Lauryn Milne was the only Lady Blue Devil to place in the top 20. She clocked in at 22:01.99 to place 19th.
“It was nice to see Lauryn crack the top 20 and get a medal,” Wilson said.
Lodi’s Norah Lee (22:20.75) ran to a 27th-place finish, while teammate Lexi Meek (22:31.96) was 29th.
The final two scoring runners for the Lady Blue Devils were Claire Schoenemann (38th, 22:48.46) and Aly Endres (47th, 23:21.59). Lizzy Clepper (67th, 24:38.00) and Thea Collins (76th, 25:08.70) also competed in the race.
The Lady Pumas earned 233 points to finish in eighth place in Division 3.
“We were missing two of our top 5-6 runners,” Frehner said. “I believe we would have been at least three spots higher with those runners.”
Katelyn Chadwick had a great race for Poynette. She crossed the final line in 19:27.68 to place third in Division 3.
“Katelyn Chadwick continued her impressive season,” Frehner said. “She put herself in a great position early and stayed there.”
Felicia Ritzke (22:06.75) was the next Lady Puma to finish in the race. She came in 37th place, while Gwen Golueke (22:15.12) was 41st. Golueke earned the team’s Feet of the Meet award.
Megan Reddeman (62nd, 23:01.81) and Emily Lee (90th, 24:13.97) rounded out the team score for the Poynette girls, while Mollie Blochwitz (103rd, 24:37.10) and Morgan Dzibinski (109th, 24:42.90) also took part in the race.
The Pumas and Blue Devils both have one more meet before the Capitol Conference Meet on Oct. 19. Poynette will be at the Albany Invite at 9 a.m. this Saturday, while Lodi will take part in the Columbus Invite at 4 p.m. on Oct. 14.