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MCDONALD'S SWNEWS4U GAME OF THE WEEK (Prep Cross Country): Darlington Invitational
Pennekamp, Aide, Connolly trio lead Panthers to team title
IG boys
Iowa–Grant’s Mason Aide (295), Caden Pennekamp (300) and Bret Connolly (298) were among the front runners during the boys’ varsity race at Saturday’s Darlington Invitational. - photo by Tom Gunnell

PREP CROSS COUNTRY: Darlington Invitational

By Jason Nihles, The Platteville Journal / Fennimore Times

Iowa–Grant boys win Darlington Invitational

DARLINGTON — A late start couldn’t slow down the surging Iowa–Grant boys cross country team. 

After an hour weather delay — on a day full of several lightning delays — the Panthers raced to a team title at Saturday’s 24-team Darlington Invitational.

“It was a challenge to get our normal warm-up routine done, but the boys did a great job of staying loose and staying focused on the race despite several trips back to the tent and bus,” said IG head coach Jake Winkler. “I was really hoping that we would get the race is because I felt that this was a good chance for us to come out and make a statement about where we are at this point in the season. Thankfully, the weather improved and we got to race.”

Seniors Caden Pennekamp (4th, 18:10.7) and Mason Aide (6th, 18:15.6), and sophomore Bret Connolly (7th, 18:24.4) all ran to top-10 finishes in the field of 161 runners to lead the Panthers, who dominated the field with 54 team points. Freshman Will Fulton finished 12th at 18:43.6 and senior Owen Laufenberg placed 25th at 19:28.2.

SWAL rival Fennimore finished a distant second  with 88 points. Mount Horeb senior Joseph Stoddard won the boys’ race in 17:04.3 to led the Vikings (75) to a third-place team finish.

Iowa–Grant senior Hope Connolly finished third out of 81 runners in the girls’ varsity race behind Dodgeville/Mineral Point sisters Ellie Robinson (19:14.5) and Annie Robinson (20:02.1).

The defending Division 2 state champion Dodgers ran away with the girls’ team title with 41 points. Mount Horeb was a distant runner-up with 75 points, followed by Lancaster with 86 and Darlington with 91.

Darlington Invitational
(from Saturday, Sept. 3 @ Darlington)
(Girls, 5,000 meters)
Team standings: 1.Dodgeville/Mineral Point 41, 2.Mount Horeb 75, 3.Lancaster 86, 4.Darlington 91, 5.North Crawford 172, 6.Holy Family 173, 7.Belleville 183, 8.Wauzeka–Steuben 199, 9.Riverdale 213, Iowa–Grant inc., Fennimore inc., Shullsburg/Belmont inc.
Top individuals: 1.Ellie Robinson (D/MP) 19:14.5, 2.Annie Robinson (D/MP) 20:02.1, 3.Hope Connolly (IG) 20:42.2, 4.Raquel Reuter (Darlington) 20:46.8, 5.Mallory Olmstead (Lancaster) 21:14.5.
Iowa–Grant (inc.): 3.Connolly 20:42.2, 49.Meagan Cullen 26:18.6, 70.Rylee Stecklein 29:06.4, 74.Yessica Garcia 30:06.6.
(Boys, 5,000 meters)
Team standings: 1.Iowa–Grant 54, 2.Fennimore 88, 3.Mount Horeb 101, 4.Albany 130, 5.Belleville 140, 6.Darlington 180, 7.Riverdale 188, 8.Southwestern/Cuba City/Benton 245, 9.Pecatonica/Argyle 246, 10.Holy Family 258, 11.Lancaster 269, 12.Wisconsin Heights/Barneveld 273, 13.Tri-State Home School 322, 14.River Ridge 331, 15.St. Ambrose Academy 346, Shullsburg/Belmont inc. 
Top individuals: 1.Joseph Stoddard (MH) 17:04.3, 2.Carter Scholey (Belleville) 17:11.7, 3.Nick Stitzer (Riverdale) 17:34.5, 4.Caden Pennekamp (IG) 18:10.7, 5.Kirk Caminiti (WH/B) 18:11.7.
Iowa–Grant (54): 4.Pennekamp 18:10.7, 6.Mason Aide 18:15.6, 7.Bret Connolly 18:24.4, 12.Will Fulton 18:43.6, 25.Owen Laufenberg 19:28.2, 43.Noah Lange 20:44.2, 90.C.J. Straka 23:27.2.