FENNIMORE – Thursday afternoon was a gorgeous fall day to get out and run around outside. For Darlington, it was just another workday.
The hard work paid off for the Redbirds’ cross country teams as they raced away with a first-place sweep at the 2016 Southwest Wisconsin Activities League Meet held at Fennimore High School’s Stephanie Giesen and Tilah Page Memorial Cross Country Course on Oct. 13.
The Redbirds captured their ninth straight SWAL boys’ title with a score of 21 points, while the Lady Redbirds regained the title that got away from them a year ago by claiming the SWAL girls’ crown with 28 points.
“Our entire team– both boys and girls– approached this race with a businesslike attitude and it showed out on the course,” said Darlington head coach Arnie Miehe.
Sophomore Payton Heinberg added an individual title at the meet after running away with a first-place finish in the boys’ 5,000-meter race with his time of 17:04.
Junior Tanner Evenstad was the boys’ runner-up in 17:18 and senior Conner Hackett was third in 17:22, while sophomores Tucker Lange and Trae Schilling placed sixth and ninth in 17:43 and 18:04, respectively, to complete the Redbirds’ dominance.
Junior Paul King joined his varsity teammates on the SWAL boys’ All-Conference squad by placing 10th in 18:15, and freshman Bailey Schwartz just missed earning a spot on the team after crossing the line in 16th-place in 18:53.
The top 15 finishers in the boys’ and girls’ races made the All-SWAL team.
“The guys did a good job of being patient and making a move together at the right time. Our fourth through sixth runners were in the position they needed to be in. They ran a solid race,” stated Miehe.
The Redbirds also won the boys’ junior varsity race with 18 points with junior Curtis Blosch (19:22) beating sophomores Miles Carper (19:32) and Wylie Richardson (19:44) to the finish line for a 1-2-3 finish for the young ‘Birds.
In the girls’ 5,000-meter competition, the Lady Redbirds also placed all five of their team runners in the top 10 to claim the program’s eighth title in the last nine seasons.
Albany was runner-up with 36 points behind Comet senior Ciara Kaderly, who won the girls’ individual title in 20:05, while defending champion Boscobel pulled in third with 64 points.
Sophomore Ilse Mendez led the ‘Birds by placing third in 20:39. Senior Paige Schilling was fourth in 20:49 and junior Reghan Komprood was fifth in 20:54, while juniors Emma Crist and Erin Wolf placed seventh in 21:34 and ninth in 21:39, respectively, to round out the team scoring in the race.
“The ladies ran a very determined race. They dug in and made moves that we needed in order to win. It was a total team effort and win,” Miehe said.
The Lady ‘Birds JV squad placed second behind Boscobel despite a 1-2 finish by sophomore Kaylee Meyers (24:00) and freshman Gracie Douglas (24:36).
Darlington will be back at Fennimore for the 2016 WIAA Division 3 Regional Meet on Saturday, Oct. 22. The boys’ race will start at 11 a.m. with the girls’ race will follow at approximately 12 noon.
The top two teams in each race advance to the WIAA State Meet along with the top five individual finishers who are not members of those teams.
2016 SWAL MEET
Varsity Boys Team Scores: Darlington 21, Albany 78, Boscobel 84, Southwestern/Cuba City 94, Riverdale 156, Fennimore 163, Iowa-Grant/Highland 168, Pecatonica/Argyle 221.
Boys’ Individual Winner: 1- Payton Heinberg, D, 17:04.
JV Boys Team Scores: Darlington 18, Boscobel 59, Southwestern/Cuba City 63, Fennimore 106, Riverdale 122.
Darlington Results: Vars– 1- Payton Heinberg, 17:04; 2- Tanner Enestad, 17:18; 3- Conner Hackett, 17:22; 6- Tucker Lange, 17:43; 9- Trae Schilling, 18:04; 10- Paul King, 18:15; 16- Bailey Schwartz, 18:53. JV– 1- Curtis Blosch, 19:22; 2- Miles Carper, 19:32; 3- Wylie Richardson, 19:44; 5- Andrew Merriam, 20:55; 7- Preston Banfield, 21:20; 11- Willie Riechers, 21:36; 13- Michael Garcia, 21:41; 17- Riley Jones, 22:09; 19- Mason Stone, 23:05; 20- Alexis Cruz, 23:15; 28- Cody Crist, 24:34; 38- Ian Wolfe, 27:54.
Varsity Girls Team Scores: Darlington 28, Albany 36, Boscobel 64, Fennimore 96, Pecatonica/Argyle 152, Iowa-Grant/Highland inc, Southwestern/Cuba City inc, Riverdale inc.
Girls’ Individual Winner: 1- Ciara Kaderly, A, 20:05.
JV Girls Team Scores: Boscobel 25, Darlington 30.
Darlington Results: Vars– 3- Ilse Mendez, 20:39; 4- Paige Schilling, 20:49; 5- Reghan Komprood, 20:54; 7- Emma Crist, 21:34; 9- Erin Wolf, 21:39; 21- Meghan Douglas, 23:36; 23- Bailey McDonald, 23:49. JV– 1- Kaylee Meyers, 24:00; 2- Gracie Douglas, 24:36; 8- Maddie Crist, 25:52; 9- Aliyah Gould, 25:54; 10- Paige Thuli, 26:18; 12- Natty Soper, 26:30*; 13- Grace Cwynar, 28:55; 18- Kaitlyn Johnson, 29:08; 20- Lacie Smith, 29:43; 21- Gracey McDermott, 29:50; 22- Brenda Mendez, 31:24; 23- Anastasia Dannenberg, 31:36; 26- Lauren Weber, 34:58; 27- Jada Glendenning, 37:29.
* Best Time ever
At Fennimore, on Thursday, Oct. 13