The Milton High cross country teams competed at the rugged Verona Invitational on Saturday against some of the top competition in southern Wisconsin.
“The Verona meet is one where you take your team there to show them that cross country is a real sport in Wisconsin,” head coach Syl Groeschl said. “It is probably the best example of what great cross country programs look like. These programs live, eat and breathe cross country 365 days a year. It is why they are consistently the best there is.
“Hopefully, our kids will get that in their heads as time goes on.”
Out of 26 teams, the girls placed 21st with 518 points. Sun Prairie won the team title with 93 points.
Sophomore Lauren Talabac had the top girls finish with a time of 22 minutes and 25.4 seconds, good enough for 51st place out of 167 runners.
Junior Sydney Miller (92nd, 23:49.42), sophomore Grace Rodenberg (114th, 24:31.02), senior Brynn Lunaas (128th, 25:05.72) and sophomore Kate Westrick (133rd, 25:10.87) also contributed to the team score. Senior Taryn Rowley (25:46.37) and freshman Bailey Brookhiser (26:27.32) also competed in the varsity race.
The boys, without top runner Noah Krueger, finished in 22nd place out of 25 teams with 612 points as Madison La Follette won the meet with just 49 team points.
Junior Connor Shannon placed 98th out of 170 runners with a time of 19:08.48. Junior Cameron Pumilia (104th, 19:22.25), sophomore Andrew Jordahl (108th, 19:29.29) freshman Josh Cash (146th, 20:29.87) and sophomore Jack Wilkinson (156th, 21:02.56) factored into the team score.
“Andrew Jordahl brought down his time to a respectable 19:29,” Groeschl said. “There is a lot more in the tank for him.”
Senior Jackson Van Den Heuvel (21:13.14) also participated in the varsity race.
Groeschl pointed out that the boys junior varsity team placed second in the Division 2 group and ninth overall out of 24 teams. The girls JV team was 17th out of 21 teams.
“Vince DiGennaro and Davis Turk ran their way onto varsity,” Groeschl said about a couple of his JV runners.
He also said Lily Hendrickson, Allison Peterson, Kylie Campion and Gabrielle Pumilia set new personal records.
“It was a very hot, humid day and I agonized with my runners,” Groeschl said. “I’ve been there, so when they ran past me on the hill, I knew this was no longer any fun. The only good thing about a day like Saturday is it can make you faster in the cold.
“Meets like Verona are a stepping stone to making us better down the road. Hopefully brushing shoulders with some of these teams will help get our runners excited with this sport.”
The Red Hawks head to Camp Timber-lee in East Troy on Thursday for their next meet before traveling to Monroe on Tuesday for the Badger Challenge.