By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
MCDONALD'S GAME OF THE WEEK (Prep Cross Country): 52nd annual Dick McKichan Platteville Invitational
Iowa–Grant boys win small schools title, end Darlington's 11-year reign at the event
Iowa–Grant junior Nick Connolly won the boys small schools division to lead the Panthers to the boys' team title at Saturday's Dick McKichan Platteville Invitational. I–G's victory ended the Darlington boys' 11-year winning streak at the race.

PREP CROSS COUNTRY: 52nd annual Dick McKichan Platteville Invitational

PLATTEVILLE — The Iowa–Grant boys dethroned Darlington to win the small schools team title at Saturday’s 52nd annual Dick McKichan Platteville Invitational.

The Panthers held off Darlington by 11 points, 49–60 to win their first Platteville Invitational title since 2000.  

The Darlington boys had won 11 straight small school titles at the Platteville Invitational. 

“We’ve been chipping away at catching Darlington all year,” said I–G head coach Jake Winkler. “We saw them at their invite and got beat, we were closer at River Valley but they still beat us, and now to finally get them is a fantastic feeling. It gives us a lot of confidence and drive going into the home stretch of the season.”

Iowa–Grant junior Nick Connolly won his third race in a row, finishing fourth overall (out of 156 varsity runners) and first in the small schools division with a time of 16:57.8 on an incredible sloppy course at UW–Platteville’s Veterans Memorial Park.

“I stopped by the course on Friday night as they were finishing setting up, and from what I saw, I didn’t have expectations for running quick times,” said Winkler. “I was ecstatic with how our kids ran, with seven kids running personal bests, and everyone embracing the mud and water and racing tough.” 

Freshman Mason Aide (17:40.6) and senior Jesse Buroker (17:52.5, career-best time) finished third and fourth in the small schools division, while seniors Colin Steffl (18th, 18:54.8) and Kruz Kitelinger (23rd, 19:13.1) rounded out I–G’s winning score of 49.

“For Jesse, this was his first time breaking into the 17s, which is a milestone for him that he’s been chasing for the past few seasons,” added Winkler. “I’m so happy that Jesse gets to be part of this success, because he has worked so hard for these four years to get to this point. Nick, Mason and Jesse three put us in a position to win, and the rest of the squad did what they needed to do to secure the win.  

“This is senior Collin Steffl’s first year out for cross country, and he’s been a huge piece of the puzzle for us. He’s really learned how to race, dropping almost two minutes off his time from the first race this year. Kruz Kitelinger’s has been battling a knee injury, so for him to be racing this well is a testament to his grit. I couldn’t  be more proud of this group of guys.”

On the girls’ side, freshman Hope Connolly led the charge, placing 10th in the girls’ small schools division and 32nd overall with a time of 21:34.5.

Iowa–Grant finished fourth out of 10 complete teams in the girls’ small schools division with 136 points. Lancaster (44) won the girls small schools title.

Two days earlier, the Iowa–Grant boys won the 10-team Kickapoo/La Farge Invitational by three points over Westby, 56–59.

Nick Connolly ran a personal-best time of 16:41.5, while Aide finished third at 17:53.9.

Hope Connolly improved upon her 5,000-meter school record, finishing third in the girls’ race at 21:15.8 to lead the I–G girls to a fourth-place team finish.

52nd Annual Dick McKichan Platteville Cross Country Invitational
(from Saturday, Oct. 5 @ UW–Platteville)
(Girls, 5,000 meters)
Top individuals (overall): 1.Kayci Martensen (Southwestern/Cuba City/Benton) 18:28.1, 2.Samantha Herrling (Wisc. Heights/Barneveld) 19:05.4, 3.Brittani Meis (Platteville) 19:41.4, 4.Bridee Burks (Lancaster) 19;44.9, 5.Madelynn McIntrye (Brodhead/Juda) 19:45.8. 
Small schools team scores: 1.Lancsater 44, 2.Albany 68, 3.Darlington 91, 4.Iowa–Grant 138, 5.River Ridge 149, 6.Riverdale 156, 7.Saint Ambrose Academy 180, 8.Belleville 200, 9.Belmont 207, 10.North Crawford 219.
Iowa–Grant (138): 32.(10).Hope Connolly 21:34.5, 76.(26).Ella Wolff 22:50.3, 93.(30).Kylie Cutts 23:29.2, 107.(33).Sam McLeer 24:24.2, 117.(39).Evie Whitaker 25:07.6, 124.(42).Brie Straka 25:42.1, 151.(55).Brena Straka 29:13.0. 
(Boys, 5,000 meters)
Top individuals (overall): 1.Christian Patzka (Wisc. Heights/Barneveld) 16:14.1, 2.Riley Siltman (Evansville) 16:52.6, 3.Hudson Haas (Sauk Prairie) 16:54.3, 4.Nick Connolly (Iowa–Grant) 16:57.8, 5.Kevin Hall (Union Grove) 17:06.7.
Small schools team scores: 1.Iowa–Grant 49, 2.Darlington 60, 3.Lancaster 95, 4.Wauzeka/Steuben 96, 5.Riverdale 126, 6.River Ridge 133, 7.Belleville 161, 8.Albany 166, 9.North Crawford 283, Belmont inc.
Iowa–Grant (48): 4.(1).Nick Connolly 16:57.8, 16.(3).Mason Aide 17:40.6, 22.(4).Jesse Buroker 17:52.5, 75.(18).Colin Steffl 18:54.8, 90.(23).Kruz Kitelinger 19:13.1, 94.(25).Owen Laufenberg 19:22.2, 135.(47).Nic Pennekamp 21:07.7.