Both Milton cross country squads had strong results but came up short of qualifying any runners for the state meet, either individually or as a team. Both the boys and girls finished with 215 points, the boys taking seventh place while the girls took ninth.
Devin Woodcock led the boys, taking 20th overall with a time of 17:35.9. Woodcock finished just four places shy of qualifying as six runners between him and the final individual qualifier were already on state qualifying teams.
The Red Hawks had two more finish in the top 50 — Davis Turk finished 40th with 18:23.3 and Trey Smith took 42nd with 18:27.7.
Brendan Harbrecht (53rd, 18:39.3) and Travis Smith (60th, 18:58.0) rounded out the scoring Red Hawk runners.
Alex Pember ran 19:10.7 for 65th and Matt Messer took 70th with a time of 19:30.7.
Though the girls scored the same number of points — 215 — they took ninth overall instead of seventh.
Leading the way was Samantha Henry, taking 15th with a time of 20:22.7 — a mere five seconds away from qualifying.
“For the sizes of schools we have to go against our teams did really well,” head coach Syl Groeschl. “Hopefully someday the WIAA will go to 4 divisions so this gets fair for all teams. Had we in been in a 4-division format we would of qualified both teams for state. It is what it is.”
Mara Talabac (35th, 21:21.9) and Samantha Benson (48th, 22:00.3) also finished in the top 50 for the girls.
Rounding out the scoring runners, Lexi Slagle took 57th with 22:13.5 and Anneka Dorn took 60th with a time of 22:19.2.
Darby Schabacher took 62nd with 22:36.1 while Alayna Borgwardt took 65th with 22:48.9.
Conditions were less than ideal for running. Windy, cold, rain and some hail and snow mixed in before the race, Groeschl said that’s what make cross country special.
“It was one of those fall cross country races in Wisconsin,” he said. “This is why cross country is such a really great sport. You never know what’s going to happen, but everybody has to do it.”
While some results were not what runners expected, Groeschl said he was proud of them all them same.
“I was extremely proud of the effort that my team put forth,” he said. “I didn’t see anybody out there not giving 100 percent. We had two runners almost make it to the next level. As a team, we need to build on that so all of us can be knocking on that door next year.”
For the seniors, Groeschl said while they’re moving on, he still hopes that they keep running in mind.
“I have had the privilege of knowing some of them for over 6 years. It is amazing how they have grown from kids to young adult,” he said. “They all will have a special place in my heart and I hope they know I am always here for them. I have enjoyed their ups and I feel their downs so don’t ever think I have taken any of them for granted. Their next step in life is it to move on to doing great things. I can only hope they keep running in their life.”