His shoulders, arms, hands and legs were exposed to the frosty climate at the Nov. 2 WIAA Division 1 boys state cross-country meet at Wisconsin Rapids.
Temperatures in the 30s, gusty winds and occasional snow were all part of the weather menu at the Ridges Golf Course, but Monona Grove junior Eli Traeder still considered it an honor to run with the best in the state.
He ended up 106th out of 190 runners and was the Silver Eagles only boys cross-country runner at state.
“I was really cold, but I had the mindset that I made it this far and should leave it out on the course. I wanted my body to feel free and open,” said Traeder, who ran his personal best times the previous two weeks at the Badger South Conference and the Madison West sectionals.
Yet, he admitted his nose was clogged up and his hands were numb as he reached the finish line.
“That’s just the mindset of a cross-country runner,” said head coach Eric Chamos when asked about Traeder’s choice of clothing to run the 5,000-meter race.
Traeder gained several spots at the two-mile mark after getting through the first mile in 112th place.
In the final 200-meters he battled a pack of other runners for position before crossing the line with a time of 17:14.6.
“It’s a tough day to run with the snow and footing, but Eli was right on pace the first mile and executed his race plan perfectly,” Chamos said. “Going into state, we had expectations and we kept them reasonable. I’m very happy with how he finished.”
Chamos said he advised Traeder to taper off on his running and allow his body to recover leading up to the race.
Traeder said he will not run for the next two weeks, but after that, he will resume his normal training regimen and prepare for the track and field season next spring.
Seven of nine runners from the 2019 cross-country squad will return next season, and Chamos said he expects Traeder to be one of his top competitors.
“He had a breakout season this year, and he is going to have another breakout season next year,” Chamos said. “You can tell by the amount of work he puts in that he’s going to be something to see next year.”