For the 19th time in the last 20 years, the Poynette cross country program had representatives at the WIAA State meet. This past Saturday at the Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids, the Pumas were represented by junior Katelyn Chadwick and senior Elias Ritzke in Division 3.
“We had a great day on Saturday at the state meet,” Poynette coach Kevin Frehner said. “Both of our runners had great races and history was certainly made.”
Both Puma runners finished in the top 20.
Chadwick was making her third appearance at state and tied for the highest finish by a Lady Puma in program history.
Chadwick made her way onto the medal podium after coming in third place with her time of 19 minutes, 30.2 seconds.
“Katelyn started the day with an outstanding race,” Frehner said. “We had talked during the week about a goal of a top-10 finish, which would earn her a medal. One of the hardest things about the state meet is getting in the correct position early, as the field usually gets out quickly in the first 400-600 meters. Kate came past the 800-meter mark in the top five places and never looked back. She made a strong move in the middle mile to get herself into third place.”
Chadwick matched Jenny Garske’s third-place effort in 1993 with the third fastest 5K time in Lady Puma history.
“She has had a dominating season and has shown great improvement over the last two years to become a state medalist,” Frehner said.
Only Weyauwega-Fremont’s Abby Bartel (18:52.9) and Wisconsin Heights’ Samantha Herrling (19:09.2) finished ahead of Chadwick.
In the team race, Lourdes Academy claimed the crown with 112 team points, followed in the top five by Gillett (126), Auburndale (128), Oostburg (132) and Lancaster (132).
Ritzke was also making his third trip to state. The senior turned in the second-highest finish in program history after clocking in at 16:54.9 to place 13th overall.
“Elias ran a very strong race,” Frehner said. “We also had the goal of running to a top-10 finish. Elias ran the first mile in exactly the position we were looking for. We had hoped that some of the other runners in front of him would fade back to him, but that did not happen, which is a credit to them. Elias did make a methodical move to pass people during the middle to later stages of the race, but could not make up enough ground to get into the top 10 places.”
Only Andy Sarnow’s sixth-place finish in 1992 was higher than Ritzke’s effort last Saturday.
“Elias finishes his career as one of the most decorated runners we have ever had,” Frehner said. “He is the only boy to earn all-conference four times and the only two-time conference champion in program history, boy or girl). He is one of only two boys to qualify for the state meet three times.”
Wisconsin Heights’ Christian Patzka (16:08.7) won the individual Division 3 boys title, while Birchwood’s Matthew Marcinske (16:14.5) was second.
Aquinas claimed the Division 3 boys team title with 68 points, followed in the top five by Brillion (96), Kohler (119), Clear Lake (168) and Pacelli (173).
Other team champions on Saturday included Muskego (Division 1 girls), Shorewood (Division 2 girls), Middleton (Division 1 boys) and Valders (Division 2 boys).