Junior Peighton Nelson was the only Monona Grove girls cross-country runner to compete at the Nov. 2 WIAA Division 1 state meet in Wisconsin Rapids. But she wasn’t alone in support as teammates from the boys and girls teams also made the trip north to cheer on Nelson.
Participating in her third consecutive cross-country meet as an individual, Nelson crossed the line in 95th place with a time of 20:15.4. She was running 81st after the first mile, 84th after the second mile, but fell back as she got closer to the finish line.
Still, Nelson’s head coach, Amanda Klassman, was pleased with her performance in the cold, gusty conditions at Ridges Golf Course.
“She ran phenomenal today. She looked great in that first and second mile,” Klassman said. “She had an awesome race and turned in one of her best times on this course.”
Klassman said it is a major accomplishment for a cross-country runner to qualify for state three seasons in a row.
“We know that based on best times, it’s never a given,” Klassman said. “She had to fight for it every year. It’s just crazy she has been able to do that.”
As for Nelson, she appreciated the support of her teammates who provided encouragement leading up to the race and even went on some practice runs with her.
She wants to get back to state as a senior, hopefully with the rest of her teammates.
“It feels really good,” said Nelson about her three-year streak. “It was really good to be back.”
As for improving for next season, Klassman said Nelson just needs to continue with her hard work and take advantage of playing two other sports – basketball and track and field – during the remaining school year.
“There is nothing she really needs to do. She is already a great runner and should continue working out in the summer, building on that foundation,” Klassman said. “She wasn’t at the front of the pack, but she is exactly where we want her to be.”