MCDONALD'S SWNEWS4U.COM GAME OF THE WEEK (Sept. 9–16)
CROSS COUNTRY: Darlington Cross Country Invitational
DARLINGTON – Neither the coronavirus pandemic nor rainfall could stop the Darlington Cross Country Invitational from being run this year. But, both those things did make for some interesting conditions for the annual showcase of the top area teams.
Due to coronavirus regulations, the 10-team meet was run in three parts over two days with three teams competing in both girls’ and boys’ races at the Darlington High School cross country course on Friday, Sept. 11, while three other teams ran their races early in the morning on Saturday, Sept. 12, followed by the final four teams wrapping up the meet late Saturday morning with the final set of races.
A steady rain throughout the day on Friday and more rain on Saturday morning made the course quite wet and a bit sloppy at times, however the weather could do little to dampen the spirits of the teams who were able to get on the course and compete against one another.
When it was all said and done, the times from the three separate races were put together to determine both individual and team champions from the two-day event.
Dodgeville/Mineral Point nipped Lancaster, 79 points to 81, to win the girls’ varsity meet; while Boscobel breezed to the boys’ varsity team title with 59 points, finishing ahead of both D/MP (83) and the host Redbirds (91) for top honors.
Southwestern/Cuba City/Benton junior Kayci Martensen covered Darlington’s 5,000-meter course in an all-time record time of 19:27.4 to claim the girls’ individual title. Belleville’s Noelle Maire set the previous record of 19:29 in 2016.
Darlington sophomore George West finished .2 of a second ahead of defending SWAL champion Nick Connolly, a senior from Iowa-Grant, to capture the boys’ individual title in a winning time of 18:03.3. West and the Redbirds ran in the second boys’ race, while Connolly and his Panthers ran in the third boys’ race.
Junior Rhett Reuter placed sixth overall in 18:43 for the ‘Birds, followed in by senior Caleb Weaver in 18th in 19:58, senior Cristian Guiterrez in 27th in 20:20 and freshman Liam Lansing in 40th in 21:39 to complete the team scoring for the hosts.
“We had a fairly good race as a team, but we still need to close the gaps down between our runners,” said Darlington head coach Arnie Miehe. “This was a good step forward for us, but there are still more steps to make.”
The Lady Redbirds also placed two runners among the top 10 finishers en route to a fifth-place team finish with 105 points. Albany was third (87) and Boscobel was fourth (91) in the standings.
Freshman Raquel Reuter led the way for the ‘Birds by placing fifth overall in 21:33, and junior Judith Meister pulled in eighth in 22:11 to make the top 10.
Freshman Alyza Johnson was next in for Darlington placing 28th with a time of 23:53, followed by junior Allyson Meyers in 33rd in 24:05 and freshman Alexis Murray in 34th in 24:16 to complete the team scoring on the day.
“This was a very strong field of girls’ teams. We had some good individual races, but didn’t have the best team race and yet we were still in the thick of things. Now we must go to work, put the pieces of the puzzle together and be ready to run well as a team,” Miehe mentioned.
SW/CC/B’s Hanna Martensen followed her sister across the finish line by placing second overall in 21:21 to win the award for top freshman girl finisher, while Albany’s McKenna Broughton placed fourth overall in 21:30 as the top sophomore girl finisher at the meet.
West was the fastest sophomore in the boys’ meet, and Boscobel’s Gabe Davis was the fastest freshman boy after placing 24th in 20:13 to beat Fennimore’s frosh duo of Nick Needham (20:14) and Riley Foreyt (20:18) to the finish line.
Darlington senior Elliana Ruiz (51st in 25:35) was named the girls’ Most Improved Runner at the Darlington Invitational after finishing the course three minutes and 10 seconds faster than she did a year ago, while Redbirds’ junior Alan Guzman (80th in 25:35) was the boys’ MIP with his two minute and 46 second improvement from last season.
Darlington is off until Friday, Sept. 25, when they will compete in the Fennimore Invitational, beginning at 4 p.m.
(from Friday–Saturday, Sept. 11–12 @ Darlington High School)
(Girls, 5,000 meters)
Team scores: 1.Dodgeville/Mineral Point 79, 2.Lancaster 81, 3.Albany 87, 4.Boscobel 99, 5.Darlington 105, 6.Southwestern/Cuba City/Benton 168, 7.Fennimore 176, 8.Iowa–Grant 214, 9.Riverdale 221, Pecatonica/Argyle inc.
Top individuals: 1.Kayci Martensen (SW/CC/B) 19:27.4, 2.Hanna Martensen (SW/CC/B) 22:21.1, 3.Ava Ahnen (Albany) 21:28.2, 4.Mckenna Broughton (Albany) 21:30.8, 5.Raquel Reuter 21:33.3.
(Boys, 5,000 meters)
Team scores: 1.Boscobel 59, 2.Dodgeville/Mineral Point 83, 3.Darlington 91, 4.Iowa–Grant 122, 5.Lancaster 136, 6.Southwestern/Cuba City/Benton 137, 7.Albany 160, 8.Riverdale 192, 9.Fennimore 198, 10.Pecatonica/Argyle 234.
Top individuals: 1.George West (Darlington) 18:03.3, 2.Nick Connolly (Iowa–Grant) 18:03.5, 3.Will Aurit (Dodge–Point) 18:17.6, 4.Charlie Keith (Dodge–Point) 18:23.1, 5.Levi Glasbrenner (Boscobel) 18:25.6.