WISCONSIN RAPIDS – About two hours before the boys’ team started their state championship celebration, the Darlington girls’ cross country team raced their way into the Redbirds’ record book by posting a best-ever third-place finish in the WIAA Division 3 State Cross Country Meet held at The Ridges Golf Course on Saturday, Oct. 29.
“They just raced hard. They ran fantastic times for themselves,” said Darlington head coach Arnie Miehe, who has guided the team to six consecutive state meet appearances. “They were in the race with some strong teams on Saturday. That was fun.”
Top-ranked Oshkosh Lourdes earned the second straight state girls’ D3 title with 57 points- 15 better than runner-up Saint Mary’s Springs with 72. Darlington– the top public school in the race– finished third with 118 points.
University Lake School senior Molly Seidel sprinted her way to her fourth individual state title, shattering her own all division state record time by covering the 4,000-meter state course in a blistering 13:39.59.
Junior Christa Wamsley turned in a personal-best time of 15:47 to place 15th overall and lead the Lady Redbirds (124-19 overall record) on the day.
Senior Hannah Robiolio followed in 30th in 16:11, while senior Amy Jorgenson and junior Harley Douglas took 54th and 55th, respectively, for the Redbirds in identical times of 16:34. Junior Rebecca Mathias completed the team scoring by finishing 71st in 16:57.
“All I know is we had to give it our all because we knew it was our last shot,” said Robiolio, who was running in her third state meet and turned in her best state time on Saturday.
Jorgenson also posted her best career time at state in her fourth state race, while Douglas topped her best state time in her second state run.
For Jorgenson, her fourth state race felt a little different than her first three go-arounds. “It was similar, but a little different knowing it’s your last time,” she said.
Junior Cheyenne Wolfe placed 91st for the Redbirds in 17:14, and freshman Johanna Meister came in 101st in 17:24 to complete the team performance on the day.
“The thing was getting them to believe they could be in the race. They had to get out fast in the race and that’s what they did,” said Miehe, who had previously led the Lady Redbirds to fourth-place finishes at state in 1989, 1990 and 1996. “I was so excited to see them right where they needed to be at the 800-meter mark. I was pleased with how hard they went out and how well they held it together.”
And, Coach Miehe admitted that their showing on Saturday morning probably helped the boys’ team go on to win the state title that afternoon.
“They really jump started the guys as well. I went back to the bus and said the girls just ran their best race ever,” explained Miehe. “By them doing that, it gave another boost to the guys and set the stage for what they did later.”
SWAL rival Boscobel finished eighth in the D3 standings with 224 points after Keely Foley turned in the top time by a freshman in finishing ninth in 15:19.
Dodgeville/Mineral Point (45) ran away with the D2 girls’ team title ahead of runner-up Madison Edgewood (115), while Hartland Arrowhead (56) topped Neenah (81) for the D1 girls’ team title.
Arrowhead also went on to win the D1 boys’ team title on Saturday afternoon.
Girls Team Scores: Oshkosh Lourdes 57, St. Mary’s Springs 72, Darlington 118, Cedar Grove-Belguim 142, Living Word Lutheran 174, Edgar 192, Spring Valley 203, Boscobel 224, Laona-Wabeno 239, Stanley-Boyd 268, Kenosha St. Joseph’s 282, Hurley 295, Phillips 300, Melrose-Mindoro 305, Pittsville 311, Luther 388.