The Poynette boys and girls cross country teams failed to advance out of last Saturday’s WIAA Division 3 Boscobel Sectional as a team, but both advanced a runner to state.

“We traveled to arguably the toughest Division 3 sectional in the state,” Poynette coach Kevin Frehner said. “We knew going in that we would be in the mix, but would have to be at our best to qualify either team. We did not run poorly, but fell short of those goals.”

The Pumas’ Elias Ritzke and Katelyn Chadwick both punched their tickets to this Saturday’s state meet.

“We have now had an individual or team at the state meet in 19 of the last 20 years,” Frehner said. “In all, we have had 11 teams and 23 individuals qualify for the state meet in that time period. What a great run of success. It can be attributed to a long, long list of kids and families that have been a joy and blessing to our program. On behalf of the current coaches, myself, high school assistant Charlotte Reddeman and middle school coach Joel Ferkovich, along with previous coaches, Ellen Crowley, Jerry Pritzl and Sue Wilson, I would like to offer a huge thank you to all involved with our program.”

Both Puma squads finished in fourth place.

The Poynette boys finished the race with 114 team points to place behind only Boscobel (70), Iowa-Grant (85) and Darlington (99).

“On the boys side, we simply got beat by teams from Iowa-Grant and Darlington who ran super races,” Frehner said. “We were really close to Iowa-Grant a few weeks ago, but they were just better than us on Saturday. Again, we did not run poorly, with many boys running career-best times, but those two teams were just too strong for us to catch for the second qualifying spot. We did beat two state ranked teams in Wauzeka-Stueben and Lancaster. We had been in the state rankings all season until the last week, so it was nice to show that we still belonged in those rankings.”

The Lady Pumas tallied 105 points to finish fourth behind Lancaster (80), Darlington (83) and Boscobel (95).

“On the girls side, we entered the meet as the 15th ranked team in the state, which was the lowest of the ranked teams in the sectional,” Frehner said. “We beat 12th-ranked Albany for the second time this season. We also showed great improvement on the eighth-ranked team in the state, Boscobel. We lost to them by just 10 points, despite being beaten by them by over 130 points at a meet one month ago.”

Ritzke became just the second Puma boy to qualify for state a third time. He finished third overall on Saturday with his time of 16 minutes, 52.7 seconds.

Chadwick made program history by becoming the first Lady Puma to qualify for state three times. She finished second overall after clocking in at 19:20.7.

“Katelyn Chadwick had a very impressive race,” Frehner said.

The Lady Pumas had Gwen Golueke (21:23.2) and Abbey Marquardt (21:33.1) also place in the top 20. They finished 14th and 17th, respectively.

Felicia Ritzke (34th, 22:42.4) and Megan Reddeman (38th, 22:46.6) were the final two scoring runners for the Poynette girls, while Emily Lee (47th, 23:24.9) and Lizzie Schwenn (51st, 23:49.7) also competed in the sectional.

“We had four senior girls end their careers in fine fashion on Saturday,” Frehner said. “Gwen Golueke and Abbey Marquardt have been varsity stalwarts for us the last four years and have accomplished so much for our team. Emily Lee and Lizzie Schwenn have been on our team for three years and have had great contributions to our varsity team and our program as a whole. They all raced well on Saturday.”

Tucker Johnson (17:49.9) and Trent Sickenberger (18:03.2) had solid races for the Poynette boys. They placed 14th and 16th, respectively.

Trent Chadwick (36th, 18:46.4) and Quentin Pinheiro (45th, 19:03.5) closed out the team score for the Pumas, while Adam Hehl (48th, 19:12.3) and Cash Stewart (55th, 19:27.3) also ran well.

“One boy who also stood out was Adam Hehl,” Frehner said. “Adam has shown such great improvement over the last two years. As a freshman, he did not look like a varsity candidate in any way. On Saturday, he was the sixth runner on a team that had been state ranked all season until the last week. Very impressive”

Chadwick and Ritzke will run at the state meet this Saturday at Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids. Chadwick will run at 1:20 p.m., while Ritzke will run at 3:10 p.m.

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