MAX SARON

Sun Prairie junior Max Saron climbs a hill during Saturday’s Big Eight Conference Meet at Janesville’s Rockport Park. Saron finished in 40th place with a time of 17:47.9.

JANESVILLE — Pack running led Sun Prairie’s Connor Carpenter, Joseph Freng and Tyler Stoll Top 25 finishes during the 2019 Big Eight Conference Cross Country Meet, held Saturday at Rockport Park in Janesville.

The trio helped the Cardinals finish in sixth place with a team score of 139.

Middleton claimed it third consecutive Big Eight title, holding off both Madison La Follette (50) and Madison West (58).

“As expected, the Big Eight Conference Meet provided the most intense competition of the year, featuring the Nos. 2, 3, 5 and 9 ranked programs in the state, in addition to two other Top 20 teams, including Sun Prairie,” said Cardinals head coach Kevin Hall. “Combined with the hilly course at Rockport Park, it made for a highly challenging day. Many student-athletes embraced the challenge and pushed themselves to a new level, or took a calculated risk and will be able to reflect back on the race with pride.”

Carpenter, a junior, covered the 5,000-meter layout the quickest among the SP runners, finishing in 17 minutes, 12.5 seconds for 20th place.

Freng and Stoll weren’t far behind as they stayed with Carpenter. Freng, a sophomore, ran a 17:16.3 to place 22nd while Stoll, a junior, finished in 17:22.5 for 24th.

Rounding out the Cardinals’ scoring were juniors Max Saron (33rd, 17:33.3) and Joseph Stoll (40th, 17:47.9).

Finishing 43rd was freshman Mateo Alvarado Venegas (17:52.2) and placing 47th was sophomore Ben Marshall (18:34.6).

“It was a day to keep perspective,” said Hall. “On the surface, it was difficult for some student-athletes in this race to take sixth place, knowing that the team has finished third for the last four years. However, this year’s seven-member varsity team featured six runners that have never run a varsity race at the Big Eight Conference Meet, including two sophomores who competed at the JV2 level one year ago — Joe Freng and Ben Marshall. For freshman Mateo Alvarado Venegas, it was his second varsity race ever.

“Several commented after the race that they were disappointed in their performance, but this is more a reflection of their high expectations for themselves and the program than an accurate assessment of their race performance and progress.”

Madison West senior Julian Gary claimed the Big Eight title with a 15:59.7 performance.

UP NEXT

Sun Prairie will compete in the WIAA Division 1 Kettle Moraine Sectional at

Naga-Waukee Park in Hartland Saturday.

The boys race will follow the girls race at approximately 11:45 a.m.

BIG EIGHT MEET

At Rockport Park, Janesville

Team scores: Middleton 46, Madison La Follette 50, Madison West 58, Madison Memorial 117, Verona 123, Sun Prairie 139, Madison East 171, Janesville Craig 191, Janesville Parker 257, Beloit Memorial 308

Top 5 finishers: 1. Gary, MW, 15:59.7; 2. Wolfe, ML, 16:11.3; 3. Hofele, Mid, 16:17.3; 4. Olson, ML, 16:20.6; 5. Bloomquist, JC, 16:28.3.

Sun Prairie: 20. Carpenter, 17:12.5; 22. Freng, 17:16.3; 24. T. Stoll, 17:22.5; 33. Saron, 17:33.3; 40. J. Stoll, 17:47.9.

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