Competing in one of the toughest sectionals in Division 1, team success is tough to come by for the DeForest boys and girls cross country teams.
While both Norski squads fell well short of advancing to the state meet, there was individual success.
“The course was as fast as any we have run on, it was a matter of competing to the level that was there,” DeForest boys coach Joe Parker said. “The guys side had seven of the top 20 teams in the state and only two get to move on. With that type of strength, the individual races were going to be highly contested.”
Senior John Roth punched his ticket to the Division 1 boys state meet after a tremendous effort at the Madison West Sectional last Saturday.
“John ran a very smart, gritty race,” Parker said. “He let others do the work until about 1,000 meters to go. The last of the hills is where he wanted to show his strength and he did just that.”
Roth claimed the individual sectional title after finishing the course at Lake Farm County Park in 16 minutes, 5.1 seconds, which put him just ahead of Madison West’s Julian Gary (16:06.4).
“He is only the second sectional champion the boys have had that I can remember, with the last being Curt Johnson in 1999,” Parker said. “He has really set himself up to have a strong showing at the state meet.”
With the help of Roth, the Norski boys finished ninth at the 12-team meet with 248 team points.
Middleton claimed the sectional title with 35 points, followed in the top five by Madison West (73), Verona (86), Madison Memorial (108) and Monona Grove (124).
The Norskies didn’t have another runner cross the finish line until Elijah Bauer (17:42.9) made his way through in 42nd place.
DeForest’s Shane VanDommelen (18:17.5) ran his way to 65th place, while teammate Jackson Grabowski (18:20.6) was 69th.
Nathan Neeley (18:31.3) rounded out the team score for the Norskies by placing 71st.
“The rest of our top seven had solid days,” Parker said. “We had two nice races by the other seniors, Nathan and Shane, to finish out their careers.”
Also representing the Norski boys at the sectional were Isaiah Bauer (18:45.5) and Ferris Wolf (18:48.6). They placed 73rd and 74th, respectively.
Roth will run at the state meet this Saturday at Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids. The Division 1 boys race is set for 2:35 p.m.
The Lady Norskies came away with 214 points to place eighth on Saturday.
“I felt the girls were in the right place mentally to have a good showing,” Lady Norski coach Chris Smith said. “Ultimately, it always comes down to how uncomfortable you are willing to be and for how long. We had four girls run their season best times, so kudos to them.”
Middleton easily claimed the sectional crown with 32 points, followed in the top five by Madison West (60), Madison Memorial (82), Monona Grove (125) and Waunakee (147).
Freshman Logan Peters had a great race for the Lady Norskies. She clocked in at 19:50.2 to place 12th overall.
“Logan Peters ran under 20 minutes for the first time and narrowly missed qualifying for the state meet by one place,” Smith said. “She executed the race plan to near perfection. It stings a little to miss qualifying, but as time goes by, she’ll be proud of her race.”
Jocelyn Pickhardt (21:30.2) was the only other Norski to place in the top 50. She crossed the finish line in 40th place.
Megan Ackerman (51st, 21:57.4), Lydia Bauer (54th, 22:06.5) and Erica Bodden (57th, 22:18.7) were the final three scoring runners for the Lady Norskies.
DeForest also had Carleen Snow (71st, 23:10.2) and Lucy Manzetti (79th, 24:03.9) compete in the race, but they did not factor into the team score.
Middleton’s Lauren Pansegrau (17:54.7) claimed the individual girls tittle.