AND THEY'RE OFF

The Sun Prairie girls cross country team gets off to a fast start en route to winning Saturday’s Wisconsin Rapids Invitational. Kate Kopotic (749) was the individual champion.

WISCONSIN RAPIDS — Kate Kopotic ran her invitational winning streak to four after outrunning the field in Saturday’s Wisconsin Rapids Invitational.

Kopotic’s fifth win in six races propelled Sun Prairie to the team championship as the Cardinals’ 28 points were well ahead of runner-up Marshfield’s 82.

“This was our first time coming to this meet. It was fun to be on the state championship site, though they did not follow the state course. This course was probably a little easier as far as the terrain and the number of hills, but it was still a challenging, fun course to run on,” said Sun Prairie head coach Matt Roe. “The varsity team had a ton of great performances and confidence boosters heading into next week’s conference championship.

Kopotic, who had previously won the Big Eight Conference Grade Level Challenge, the Smiley Invite and the Midwest Invite, covered the Ridges Golf Course layout in 18 minutes, 45.5 seconds, well ahead of runner-up Elaina Kanitz of Marshfield (19:40.1).

“Kate Kopotic led the race by a significant and growing amount throughout. It was a dominating performance, especially considering her only competition was the lead cart in front of her. It was her third straight invitational win,” Roe said.

Kopotic was one of three Sun Prairie runners to earn top-5 finishes: junior Dani Thompson was third in 19:46.3, while senior Hannah Ray finished fourth in 19:55.0.

“Dani Thompson had a lifetime PR in what was an outstanding race for her. She battled with Eliana Kanitz of Marshfield throughout the latter half of the race. Having that competition really pushed Dani to a great performance. Hannah Ray was our third runner this time after making big moves over the last two miles of the race; she had been sitting back in 13th after one mile,” said Roe.

In fact, all five Cardinals placed in the top 15 as Amber Hodges (20:25.1) and Anna Boardman (20:36.6) finished eighth and 12th, respectively.

“Amber Hodges had an inspired effort and really followed the race plan the coaches designed well. We’re really excited to see her in the championship part of the season,” said Roe. “Anna Boardman rounded out our scoring with another strong performance. Anna has been very dependable and consistently good all season.”

Autumn Dushack was Sun Prairie’s sixth runner and finished in the top 20 as a medal winner with her teammates. Dushack’s time was 20:57.3.

UP NEXT

Sun Prairie will look to defend its Big Eight Conference championship for the fifth straight year this Saturday.

The 2019 Big Eight Meet will be held at Rockport Park in Janesville. The girls race beings at 9:30 a.m., followed by the boys at 10:05 p.m.

WISCONSIN RAPIDS INVITATIONAL

At Ridges Golf Course

Team scores: Sun Prairie 28, Marshfield 82, Wisconsin Rapids 102, Stevens Point 124, Gillett 146, Darlington 166, Wisconsin Rapids Assumption 226, Sauk Prairie 236, Edgar 245, Tomah 247, Manitowoc 262, Deerfield/Cambridge 299, Onalaska Luther 316, Sparta 322.

Top 5 runners: Kopotic, SunP, 18:45.5; Kanitz, Marsh, 19:40.1; Thompson, SunP, 19:46.3; Ray, SunP, 19:55.0; Ellenbacher, Edg, 20:14.7.

Sun Prairie: 1. Kopotic, 18:45.5; 3. Thompson, 19:46.3; 4. Ray, 19:55.0; 8. Hodges, 20:25.1; 12. Boardman, 20:36.6; 19. Dushack, 20:57.3.

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