It’s been a long wait, but the Waunakee cross country team is finally off and running in the 2019 season.
The Warriors kicked off their season on Thursday at the 33rd annual Norski Invite, where both the boys and girls claimed fourth-place finishes.
The girls were up first; leading the way was Emma Bertz. The Waunakee senior got off to a blazing start, opening up a wide advantage in the early stages of the race.
“Emma had a great race; she just went off too fast,” said Waunakee’s Head Coach Heather Raffel. “She got sucked into an early fast pace.”
In the end, Bertz took third place out of a total of 179 runners, crossing the line in a time of 20:22.22. Behind her were Jordyn Jarvi and Kelsey King; Jarvi took 14th (21:32.97), while King was 15th (21:33.88). Anna Vanderhoef was close on their heels, claiming a 17th-place finish (21:37.02). Anne Dotzler rounded out the scoring for the girls, coming in 30th place with a finish of 22:33.41.
“It was a great soft-open for them…” added Raffel. “It’s the first race of the season; you don’t really know what’s going to happen.”
The girls’ total of 78 points was just 10 behind third-place Monona Grove and 15 shy of second-place Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln.
For the boys, the pair of Andrew Regnier and Evan Voge stuck with each other for the majority of the race atop the Warrior lineup. Regnier ended up as Waunakee’s top finisher, coming in 11th place (18:16.22), while Voge came in 14th (18:20.28).
Rounding out the scoring for the boys were Alex Korth in 22nd (18:50.90), Trenton Niles in 26th (19:07.50) and Baylor Smith in 28th (19:10.54).
“I think our boys had the best open we’ve had since, I want to say 2015…” said Raffel. “I feel like we’ve got a really good, solid core with the guys.”
The boys’ 101 points was also good for fourth place, just 12 behind third-place Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln.
The Warriors now turn their focus to a pair of meets this weekend. On Saturday morning, Waunakee will compete in both the Madison West Invitational at Lake Farm Park, as well as at an invitational held at Spring Green Municipal Golf Course.