High school cross-country coaches often ask their seniors set the pace along the hilly terrains, gravel-covered roads and weather-beaten wooden bridges that are part of a running course.
In the case of both McFarland teams, it was the senior leadership that brought home some respectable finishes at Saturday’s Verona Invite at Verona High School.
The girls team finished 13th out of 22 teams as senior Sadie McCaulley ended 40th out of 141 runners with a time of 21:16.9 and senior Ella Ceelen took 70th in 22:17.6. Junior Emma Johnson wound up 72nd in 22:23.8, sophomore Felicia Zheng was 79th in 22:30.3, and sophomore Lilly Innes took 96th in 23:12.7.
The Spartans ended with 366 team points. Madison West topped all girls teams with 64 points followed by Onalaska with 65 and Middleton with 81. The Regents’ Genevieve Nashold was the overall winner with a time of 17:39.5.
McFarland’s senior boys had a major role in the team taking 15th place as three of them were the team’s top finishers.
Matthew Klumpyan was 30th out of 155 runners with a time of 17:26.4, Carson Aubey nabbed 65th place in 18:17.7, and Evan Kania was 71st in 18:23.6. Junior Derek Sandine finished 86th with a time of 18:36.6, and junior Ryan Olsen ended 102nd in 19:01.7.
McFarland had 354 team points, just two behind 14th-place Watertown Luther Prep and four in back of Monroe, which finished 13th.
Madison La Follette had the lowest team score with 61 as senior Chris Wolfe of the Lancers won the race with a time of 16:20.1.
The boys and girls teams run Saturday in an invitational at the Spring Green Municipal Golf Course. Races will begin at 8:30 a.m.