Runner 671 is senior Collin Nelson of Monona Grove, runner 671, finishes the race at the Verona Invitational last weekend. Below is senior Kat…
Both the McFarland and Monona Grove cross country teams competed in the Verona Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 4.
Middleton runners took first place in both the boys and girls races. The invitational included 24 teams for boys and 23 teams for girls including runners from McFarland, Monona Grove, Verona, Middleton, Madison West, Madison Memorial, Sun Prairie, Oregon and Madison La Follette.
The Monona Grove boys team finished in 15th, while the girls finished in sixth place. Monona Grove’s top runners finished in 34th place for the boys, and fourth-place for the girls.
For the boys, senior Jacob Anderson led the team with a time of 17 minutes and 41.3 seconds, finishing in 34th place. Senior Collin Nelson (18:08.1) passed a couple of runners near the finish line to score in 48th place.
Senior Drew Sengos (19:06.00) and Logan Aro (19:13.8) ended in 86th and 92nd place. Also racing were senior Brandon Rogers (19:44.0) in 111th, sophomore Adam Gray (20:00.0) in 123rd and senior Kinhkha Tran (20:31.9) in 137th place.
The boys finished the race with 372 points.
In the girls race, freshman Mackenzie Babcock ran to a time of 19:22.5, scoring a fourth-place finish.
“When she’s going out for a race, she has an idea of which individual she wants to run with and just sticking with them and trying to make a good finish out of it at the end,” said Monona Grove girls head coach Corey Livieri.
Running in the same pack, freshman Abigail Koonce (21:43.9) and Erica Eastman (21:45.5) finished in 41st and 45th place.
Livieri said Monona Grove runners are preparing for long-term growth by “putting in the work week to week and knowing that the results may not come right away, but being okay with results coming in later.”
Senior Elena Kozich (22:18.4) finished in 60th place, and freshman Toni Kozich (22:54.3) scored in 78th. Rounding up the varsity runners included freshman Eden Nath (23:04.8) in 84th, and sophomore Aaliyah Rogers (23:27.5) in 92nd place.
The girls finished with 221 points.
The McFarland boys team finished in 23rd, while the girls team finished in 20th place.
“It was a really positive experience. Last year, the meets were very, very different. They were much smaller, less people… and that meet in Verona was very big,” said McFarland co-coach Scott Fischer. “For the young team that we have, it was a very positive experience.”
For the boys, freshman Spencer Alf clocked the fastest time (18:26.1), scoring in 63rd place. Freshman Paxton Nygaard scored in 122nd place with a time of 19:59.5.
A pack of Spartans finished right next to each other, with freshman Issac Ewing (20:01.1) in 124th, sophomore Leo Freedman (20:06.7) in 125th and sophomore Brock Spiegel (20:07.2) in 126th place.
“They’ve been training together, they do a lot of their workouts together, but we want to get that pack a little more up in the future races, but we don’t mind that they’re running together,” said McFarland co-coach Andrew Garvey.
Junior Max Andrew (20:32.2) finished in 138th, and freshman Brady Ochalla (22:06.9) in 155th place.
The boys team ended the race with 560 points.
For the girls, sophomore Elise Freeman ran the fastest time (22:46.0), scoring in 70th place. In 107th was senior Felicia Zheng (24:05.2) and senior Lilly Innes (24:06.8) in 108th place.
Senior Katie Rossman (25:33.2) and senior Brielle Bruce (25:41.9) ran to a finish of 143rd and 144th place. Sophomores Annika Cheadle (27:56.3) and Kinzie Bockenhauer (31:01.5) took 155th and 159th place.
“Running in a pack is a feel-good thing. You see your teammates and that gives you energy. And as they gain more experience, they’ll go out a little harder and pull themselves even faster times,” Fischer said. “Packs are always helpful.”
The girls team ended the race with 554 points.