The candy tasted dandy for Monona Grove High School girls cross-country freshman Madeline Hogan after the Badger South Conference race at Fort Atkinson earlier this month.
Hogan, who finished seventh to help her team capture the league title, was feasting on chocolate while greeting teammates, classmates, coaches and other well-wishers who have backed her desire to be the best she can be.
Hogan finished the 5,000-meter race in 20:01.5, a quantum leap from earlier in the season when her running times were three to four minutes slower.
“This year has been amazing. I’ve (gotten personal records) in almost every race,” Hogan said. “It’s just great to be around these coaches and people who have been supporting me all the way.”
Hogan’s head coach, Amanda Klassman, has also been impressed by her progress in recent months. Klassman said her success has a lot to do with simply learning how to run.
“She needed to get that confidence in her, and she has been able to do that throughout the season,” Klassman said. “She knows what she needs to do and she gets it done.”
Hogan did not qualify for Saturday’s WIAA Division 1 girls cross-country meet as an individual as she ended up 15th in the Madison West sectional race at Lake Farm County Park, and the Silver Eagles finished fourth in team points.
But her time of 20:04.2 was still close to that coveted 20-minute mark. She said she hopes she can reach the state meet someday if she can crack 19-minute barrier.
What will it take to accomplish that?
“You have to push yourself every practice and every race,” Hogan said. “You can’t slack off. Even if you hurt badly. The finish line is right there, and you’re going to be done soon enough. I know mentally I could go faster.”