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Connolly sets the pace for IowaGrant
Sophomore places 7th out of 129 runners in boys small schools race at River Valley Invitational
Junior Kylie Cutts finished her first career race, leading the IowaGrant girls with a 70th place finish at Saturdays River Valley Blackhawk Invitational.

SPRING GREEN — The Iowa–Grant cross country team traveled to Spring Green Saturday for the River Valley Blackhawk Invitational. 

The Panthers boys’ team finished 15th out of 19 complete teams in the small schools varsity division with sophomore sensation Nick Connolly leading the way with a seventh place individual finish.

Connolly crossed the finish line in 17:55 to earn a top-10 finish in a field of 129 runners. 

“Nick is right on track to have another great season for us,” said Iowa–Grant head coach Jake Winkler. “Saturday he got out and established himself early in the race.” 

Junior Jesse Buroker (51st, 19:23), freshman Dylan Bingham (101st, 21:16), junior Sawyer Dobson (107th, 21:45) and sophomore Nic Pennekamp (122nd, 23:04) rounded out the I–G boys’ five-man lineup.

Darlington senior Payton Heinberg won the small schools boys title with a time of 16:53 to lead the Redbirds to the boys’ team title. Darlington had six of the top 19 runners in the small schools division. 

The Iowa–Grant girls’ team was incomplete this weekend, with only four runners.  

Junior Kylie Cutts finished the first race of her running career, and lead I–G with a time of 24:55 to finished 70th in the small schools girls’ varsity race.  

Junior Sam McLeer (28:41) placed 100th, sophomore Brena Straka (29:57) was 103rd and junior Lexi Hildreth (30:20) finished 106th.

“The weather and course were about perfect for racing,” said Winkler. “I told the teams before the race what a great opportunity we had to race today. The course was fast and in great condition, the weather was perfect, and the competition is the best we’ll face until sectionals.  Everybody ran at least a season-best time, and for some they dropped a few minutes.  We’re definitely finding our stride now, more than half of the kids on the team this year are new and had never raced a 5K. The growth I’ve seen so far is awesome, and I’m excited to see how much we can improve by the end of the season with more racing experience.”  

NEXT: Iowa–Grant competed in the Goat Hill Classic at North Crawford on Tuesday and will now have a nine-day break between competitions until traveling to Richland Center on

Thursday, Sept. 20.

Shorthanded Belmont boys compete at River Valley

Belmont did not have a complete team at the River Valley Blackhawk Cross Country Invitational. Junior Brady Johnston led the Braves competing at the meet by placing 40th overall in 19:16.

NEXT: Belmont is off until Saturday, Sept. 22, when they will participate in the Fennimore Invitational, beginning at 8:15 a.m.


River Valley Invitational

(from Saturday, Sept. 8 @ Spring Green)

(Girls, 5,000 meters)

Small school team scores: 1.Lancaster 49, 2.Boscobel 74, 3.Prairie du Chien 99, 4.Darlington 103, 5.Viroqua 119, 6.Wisconsin Heights 154, 7.Albany 162, 8.Brookwood 178, 9.New Glarus/Monticello 285, 10.Belleville 288, 11.Fennimore 296, 12.River Ridge 308, 13.St. Ambrose Academy 342, 14.Hillsboro 361, Iowa–Grant inc

Top individuals: 1.Abri Brown (Boscobel) 19:08.63, 2.Lydia Murphy (Lancaster) 20:08.39, 3.Ilse Mendez (Darlington) 20:13.30.

Iowa–Grant (inc.): 70.Kylie Cutts 24:55, 100.Sam McLeer 28:31, 103.Brena Straka 29:57, 106.Lexi Hildreth 30:19.

(Boys, 5,000 meters)

Small school team scores: 1.Darlington 47, 2.New Glarus/Monticello 77, 3.Boscobel 104, 4.Wisconsin Heights/Barneveld 150, 5.Wauzeka/Steuben 173, 6.Brookwood 209, 7.Viroqua 225, 8.Fennimore 239, 9.Lancaster 282, 10.Pecatonica/Argyle 287, 11.Palmyra–Eagle 308, 12.Belleville 323, 13.River Ridge 326, 14.Hillsboro 374, 15.Iowa–Grant 376, 16.Riverdale 394, 17.Albany 450, 18.Necedah 502, 19.Prairie du Chien 506, Belmont inc.

Top individuals: 1.Payton Heinberg (Darlington) 16:52.22, 2.Ian Barry (Fennimore) 16:54.03, 3.Christian Patzka (Wisc. Heights/Barneveld) 17:13.91.

Iowa–Grant (376): 7(7).Nick Connolly 17:15, 51(50).Jesse Buroker 19:23, 101(98).Dylan Bingham 21:16, 107(104).Sawyer Dobson 21:45, 122(117).Nic Pennekamp

Belmont (inc.): 40.Brady Johnston 19:16, 75.Seth Peters 20:16, 108.Zachary Mester 21:48, 117.Tyler Simmons 22:37.