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State cross country meet this Saturday in Wisconsin Rapids

Three Pierce County runners will compete in the 101st WIAA State Cross County Meet at the Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids Saturday.

Spring Valley's Emma Gaustad will compete in the Division 3 girls race which is the first race of the meet at 11:30 a.m. Following this race will be the Division 2 race Prescott's Amanda Murphy will be competing in. Elmwood/Plum City's Noah Wells will compete in the Division 3 boys race at 1:50 p.m.

This will be Gaustad's third straight state meet as she competed with the SVHS girls squad the past two seasons. Last year she ran the 4,000-meter course in 16:36.

"I really like running the course there and I can't wait to do it again," Gaustad said after qualifying in last week's sectional meet in Boyceville.

Murphy and Wells are both making their first runs at state and for Wells, he is the first-ever runner from the Elmwood/Plum City co-op program to qualify for state.

In the WIAA written preview of the individual D-2 and D-3 girls meets, Amy Davis of Madison Edgewood has the distinction of being the top returning placer from last year’s D-2 gilrs meet, finishing second. She is expected to be a strong contender for the individual title again this season. A number of other  top-10 finishers last year are also back to challenge for the title, including senior Anna Eisenzimmer and junior Hannah Owens of Dodgeville/Mineral Point,  who placed fourth and eight, respectively, last year. Owens also placed seventh in 2011. Sophomore Morgan Florsheim of Shorewood and senior Taylor Miller of Mauston could also contend after placing fifth and ninth, respectively, last season. Other contenders that may possibly vie for the individual championship based on sectional results are seniors Kinsey Harmon of Berlin and Lian Arzbecker of Pewaukee;  juniors Lauren Peters of Freedom, Kristy Terp of Two Rivers and Cora Bruxvoort of Bloomer; and sophomore  Ashton Keene of Pewaukee.

Senior Delaney Sinnen of Random Lake is the top returning individual in Division 3 after finishing third last year and fourth in 2011. Isabel Seidel of Hartland University Lake School/Trinity was on Sinnen’s heels in fourth place last season after finishing fifth in 2011. Both are considered favorites to challenge the title again this year. Other runners with experience expecting to be among the leaders are senior Natalie Miller of Three Lakes and senior Leah Johnson of Pardeeville. They finished sixth and seventh, respectively, last year. Others who could be in contention for the titles based on their State experience or their sectional performances are juniors Nora Keller of Lourdes Academy and Becca Maxwell of Westby, and freshmen Dempsey Fogarty of Colfax and Hailey BeBeau of Chequamegon. 

In the boys D-3 meet senior Tyson Miehe of Darlington is the two-time defending champion returning in Division 3. He should again be considered the favorite to repeat. Among the runners with quality State Meet performances attempting to dethrone Miehe are seven others that placed in the top 10 in 2012. They include senior Kevin Ryan of Kenosha St. Joseph, who was runner-up last year; senior Darin Lau of Eau Claire Immanuel Lutheran (3rd); junior Luke Versweyveld of Kenosha Christian Life/Faith Christian (4th); sophomore Dakota Kauffman of Boscobel (5th); senior Nick Zander of Chippewa Falls McDonell (8th); senior Andrew Studinski of Marathon (9th); and senior Sasha Maro of Mondovi (10th). Other possible challengers for the individual crown after racing to sectional titles are seniors Mitchell Bilitz of Winnebago Lutheran, Greg Greif of Menasha St. Mary's, Jacob Ohnstad of Grantsburg and Austin Pasch of Westby.

WIAA State Cross Country Meet Preview: (