County could have several state cross country qualifiersWIAA cross country sectionals are this Saturday and Pierce County could see several runners qualify for the state meet.
WIAA cross country sectionals are this Saturday and Pierce County could see several runners qualify for the state meet.
Ellsworth and Prescott will be at the Division 2 meet in Arcadia at Schultz Farm. The boys' meet will begin at 11:35 a.m. and the girls meet at 12:45 p.m.
Elmwood and Spring Valley meanwhile will be at the Division 3 meet in Boyceville at Tiffany Creek Elementary School. The boys' start time is 11 a.m. and the girls' is 11:45 a.m.
The field for the Division 2 sectional will be a tough one. No. 6 ranked La Crosse Aquinas and Nekoosa-Port Edwards will be there along with No. 14 ranked Viroqua on the boys' side. The girls' meet includes four ranked squads in No. 1 Onalaska, No. 5 La Crosse Aquinas, No. 8 Viroqua and No. 10 Wittenberg-Birnamwood.
However, Ellsworth head coach Jon Dodge feels winning the Middle Border Conference meet as the Panthers did last week for the first time since 1966 puts them in contention. They faced these teams in meets at Black River Falls and Arcadia this season already and competed well, winning the BRF Invite too. EHS hopes to make it to state for the first time since 1966 as well where they finished third.
"We're in the top four going into the meet," Dodge said. "Only two teams go on to state and we have as good a shot as those ranked teams because we're running really well, we're running well as a team and we know the course well too."
The forecast calls for rain which would make an already strenuous Schultz Farm course even more so with slick mud. That could affect the girls' race which comes after the boys, but Prescott head coach Dave Vortherms feels the Cardinals top female runner, Middle Border champion Victoria Simones, will be able to manage another state qualifying appearance.
"She's running with a very confident manner," Vortherms said. "She setting the pace and she has more experience racing than she did a year ago and she did well then. She's run the Arcadia course this year and did fine and we expect her to do so again."
Vortherms also hopes PHS' No. 1 boys' runner, Cole Hauenstein, will be able to qualify as a top 5 runner not on a qualifying team. Vortherms thinks his teams are capable of Top 10 finishes in the 17-school field.
Over at the D-3 meet, No. 12 ranked Webster is the top boys' school while No. 6 Colfax and No. 12 Frederic are the favorites in the girls' meet. Spring Valley's Breanna Colbenson, the Dunn-St. Croix champion, is looking to qualify for state again, and Spring Valley's girls team could finish in the top 10.
The state meet is next Saturday at The Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids.