The Boscobel Bulldogs arrived at the Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids on a very wet and cold morning last Saturday to compete at the WIAA State Cross Country Championships. Sixteen of the best teams in the state compete, with trophies given to the top two teams.
“I didn’t hear a single word about the weather,” said head coach Skyler Reynolds. “They were there to compete for a state championship. We really tried to stay warm and dry the best we could. We arrived at 10:30, which was 1.5 hours before Mackenzie’s race and 3.5 hours before the boys’ race. The kids got off the bus and walked the course and came back and dried off before getting back out to warm up for their race. The guys got off one additional time to cheer for Mackenzie before their race.”
Bulldog junior Mackenzie Kauffman toed the line with 150 of the state’s best runners and finished in 11th place with a running time of 19:53.21
“I thought Mackenzie did a phenomenal job of keeping her composure, mentally and physically preparing herself before the race, and executing her race in difficult conditions,” Reynolds said. “She got off to a great start where she went through the mile at 6:05, which was just seven seconds from fourth place, keeping herself in contention with the lead pack. She put together another solid second mile holding her position in 12th, and then finished strong moving up to 11th place in the final 1.1 miles.
“Mackenzie has put a lot of hard work in over the past year and it is really starting to pay off. She is such an awesome person to be around and coach, so it’s been fun to watch her be successful at the highest level. Her teammates did not get to compete with her, but they practiced every day last week with her, walked the course, warmed up, and did runs outs with her before the race. It says a lot about how much she means to her teammates and about how much they all care for each other. I think it helped her feel calm with them being right with her every step until the race started.”
The boys competed against sixteen teams with 152 runners from all over the state. The Bulldogs took second as a team with senior Dakota Kauffman finishing in second individually with a time of 16:27.14.
Individually, Dakota Kauffman completed his high school cross country career with four top five finishes at the state meet, something coach Reynolds characterized as “unheard of.”
Kauffman was followed by Jordan Molzof (junior) in 12th place with a running time of 17:11.1, Seth Laxton (senior) in 24th with 17:30.0, Noah Toye (junior) in 68th with 18:15.6, Dakota Kull (freshman) in 86th with 18:26, Jack Latham (sophomore) in 127th with 19:18.7, and Angel Narvaez (junior) in 136th with 19:56.4.
“We knew things were going to be really tight with a handful of teams in the top five, so it was important for everyone to run their race and not get caught up in trying to do too much,” Reynolds said. “We ran in some big meets this year, and it helped our guys stay calm and not panic with so many people around. Our guys went from fourth place at the mile to passing 31 runners and into second place at two miles.
“Over the final 1.1, the guys buckled down and held their position with a big finish to distance ourselves from third place Chequamegon. We saw some big time performances up front, and carried right down the line. Dakota came battling back on pure guts from a good distance to secure second place, Jordan went off in the last 1000 meters, and Seth continued one of the most consistent seasons we’ve had to give us a really low point total up front.”
“Looking back at the times, which are irrelevant in conditions like they were, it was the tightest that our 1-5 time spread had been all year long,” Reynolds continued. “Dakota, Jordan and Seth continued to do their thing, but watching Noah and Kota work through the pack of competitors was phenomenal.”
“We couldn’t be more proud of how the runners competed at the state meet,” said assistant coach Grant Reynolds. “Both Mackenzie and the boys team carried their momentum from the sectional meet into the state meet, and that led to some outstanding performances. The boys team had several runners who stepped up and ran their best race of the year to bring home a state trophy.”
The coaches and team offer a huge thank you to the Bulldog fans.
“It was just incredible to see and hear the amount of support we received from parents, fans and community members,” the head coach said. “I know the kids felt it all year long, but to hear the roar of the crowd at the race and awards ceremony was special!”