The Sun Prairie girls cross country team competed for the first time since the 2019 WIAA State Meet and earned a runner-up finish in the March Madness Meet held at Sheehan Park March 27.
“It was so fun to watch our girls race again for the first time in a year and a half,” said SP girls head coach Matt Roe. “The girls ran on a muddy, slippery mess in the rain; It was the second race of the day so the course was fairly torn up by the time the girls’ race started. It was also squishy and soft. Things that don’t lend themselves to good times, but that didn’t really matter. Just getting to compete again was fun.”
Sun Prairie’s 50 pointers were second behind champion Middleton, which earned a perfect score with 15 points. Eau Claire North was third with 80 points.
“We had 15 of our 20 girls compete in the race. It was a smaller roster, but experienced as we only have three freshmen on the team. Some of our runners found out the physical challenges of racing again for the first time in 1 1/2 years. There is a certain amount of reacclimation to training with the team everyday and racing that the girls are going through right now,” said Roe.
“I’m really excited to see the progression of the team in the coming weeks.
Junior Reagan Zimmerman led the Cardinals with an eighth-place finish, covering the 5K course in 22 minutes, 16.9 seconds.
“Reagan Zimmerman had a phenomenal first race of the season,” said Roe. “She followed the race plan well and confidently moved up through the field throughout the race. The look on her face told you that she was enjoying herself and gaining confidence as the race wore on. She’s in a great place to begin this shortened season.”
Junior Bella Keefe was next with a 17th-place time of 23:52.5, followed by senior Kayleigh Knauss (19th, 25:03.9) and junior Natalie Johnson (20th, 24:14.4).
“Bella Keefe also had an outstanding performance. Her off-season work really showed. Kayleigh Knauss and Natalie Johnson effectively worked together through much of the race,” Roe said.
Senior Emily Tess rounded out Sun Prairie’s scoring crossing the finish line in 24:40.8, good for 24th place.
“Emily Tess had a solid start to her senior season to round out our varsity scorers,” said Roe.
Junior Allie Spredemann (25th, 24:45.3) worked her way up through the race to finish right behind Tess, while freshman Nyllah Comstock rounded out the varsity seven finishing 27th (25:12.1) in her first-career race.
The Cardinals will compete Wednesday’s Janesville Quad along with Janesville Craig, Janesville Parker and Verona. Racing begins at 4 p.m. at Optimist Park in Janesville.