Saturday, Oct. 16 was the last regular season run for the Sun Prairie cross country teams. The Big Eight gave hosting rights for the conference run to the Cardinals, so it took place at Sun Prairie’s Sheehan Park. Home-field advantage did the Cardinals well as both varsity squads finished fourth overall to gain some momentum which will hopefully carry over into the postseason.
The varsity girls had the first run of the day. The race was dominated by Middleton, but Sun Prairie had a few runner that were able to keep pace. Middleton had the top three fastest times of the day and ran away with the win with a team total of just 19 points. Claiming 2nd was Madison West with 52. Madison Memorial narrowly edged out Sun Prairie, claiming 3rd with 94. Sun Prairie ended up with 4th place with a team score of 98.
Senior Reagan Zimmerman and freshman Jojo Knauss led the way for the Cardinals. Zimmerman had the fastest time for Sun Prairie, finishing 9th overall with a time of 20:18.9. Right behind her was Knauss in 10th a time of 20:20.5. Outside of those two, Grace Kline also had a really solid run. Her time of 21:41.1 earned her 22nd place overall.
”She ran a consistent race throughout as our third runner,” Sun Prairie co-head coach Matt Roe said. “She always gives maximum effort. Saturday was a really solid performance for her as we begin the champion portion of the season.”
Both Zimmerman and Knauss earned conference medals for finishing within the top 15.
On the varsity boys side, two Sun Prairie runners turned in fantastic performances. Junior Mateo Alvarado Venegas kept his fantastic season going, finishing 2nd overall with a time of 16:08.7. There was no catching Griffin Ward of Middleton, who turned in the only sub-16 time of the day at 15:58.5.
Besides Alvarado Venegas, senior Joe Freng had a great day as well. his time of 16:57.3 earned him 5th place overall. The Cardinals weren’t done with solid runs, either. The Marshall brothers, senior Ben and sophomore Jonah, ran well also. Ben turned in a time of 17:34.2 to claim 20th and Jonah was right on his heels in 21st with a time of 17:34.6.
Overall, Sun Prairie scored 92 team points, landing it in 4th place. Madison West had four runners finish in the top 15, claiming 1st place with a team total of 52. Behind them was Middleton in 2nd with 81 and La Follette in 3rd with 81.
While the varsity squads have sectionals to look forward to, the conference meet marked the end of the season for junior varsity runners. Sun Prairie’s runners put in some great performances to end their season.
In the girls junior varsity run, Sun Prairie had four top-20 finishers. Freshman Ali McCaughtry was fastest among them, taking 10th place with a time of 21:52.2. Not far behind was a string of Cardinals, including sophomore Alexis Johnson (14th with a time of 22:06.1), junior Mickey Griffith (16th with a time of 22:18.3) and freshman Sophie Erickson (19th with a time of 22:33.7).
In the junior varsity run, sophomore Randy Shaw was outstanding. His time of 18:46.2 was the fastest on the day as he took home 1st place.
The Cardinals’ march to the state championship run begins Saturday, Oct. 23. The boys and girls will travel to Kettle Moraine to compete in Sectional 6. Opposing schools include host Kettle Moraine, Beloit Memorial, Elkhorn Area, Fort Atkinson, Janesville Craig, Janesville Parker, Madison La Follette, Milton, Oconomowoc, Oregon, and Stoughton. The boys run starts at 11 a.m. CDT and the girls will begin at 11:45 a.m. CDT.