DARLINGTON – Before Darlington could begin worrying about winning a fifth straight state championship title, the top-ranked Redbirds had a little business to take care of first.
The ‘Birds captured their eighth consecutive sectional title– and an eighth straight state team berth to go along with it– with a first-place finish in the boys’ meet at the 2015 WIAA Division 3 Sectional Cross Country Meet held at the Darlington High School course on Saturday, Oct. 24.
The victory came with a bit of drama as the Redbirds had to hold off a challenge from SWAL-rival Boscobel to keep their sectional streak alive.
The Redbirds’ second through fifth team runners made a strong push during the final third of the boys’ 5,000-meter race to run down the Bulldogs, 60 points to 67 points, for the team title.
Boscobel earned the second state team berth ahead of Albany (111), Lancaster (124) and Prairie du Chien (173).
“We got out a little bit too slow and then found ourselves in a hole that we had to dig out of. We know that we need to get out in the race quicker and still make our moves during the race,” said Darlington head coach Arnie Miehe. “I was impressed with our push during the third mile. We were behind and the guys did what it took to get things done.”
Boscobel senior Dakota Kauffman claimed his second straight individual sectional crown in a winning time of 16:32. Kauffman finished 24 seconds ahead of Redbird senior Jaden Komprood, who was runner-up for the second year in a row in 16:56.
The Bulldogs put their next two team runners– Seth Laxton (sixth in 17:35) and Jordan Molzof (ninth in 17:39)– in ahead of Darlington’s next finisher, but the Redbirds brought in their second through sixth team runners ahead of Boscobel’s fourth runner to rally for the title.
Senior Sean Barbee was 11th in 17:45, followed by freshman Payton Heinberg (14th in 17:51), sophomore Tanner Evenstad (16th in 18:01) and senior Blake Cwynar (17th in 18:20) completed the team scoring for the ‘Birds, while junior Connor Hackett (19th in 18:28) came in before Boscobel’s Noah Toye (23rd in 18:38) and Dakota Kull (28th in 18:56) to aid the victory.
“Jaden has been giving us a low, front runner score and now we need to move our two through seventh guys up in the race where we belong,” stated Miehe.
The Redbirds return to Wisconsin Rapids this Saturday seeking to become just the fourth school in state history– and the first school since Fennimore did it from 1977-81– to win five state championships in a row.
Sophomore Erin Wolf will be joining the boys’ team at the state meet this season after capturing the fifth and final individual berth with a seventh-place overall finish in the girls’ 5,000-meter race in 21:34.
Belleville’s Noelle Maire won the girls’ race in 19:28, while Albany (41) won the girls’ team title and Lancaster (76) edged Boscobel (81) for second-place and the other team berth.
The Lady Redbirds placed fourth with 120 points led by Wolf. Junior Paige Schilling was 20th in 22:29, followed by freshman Ilse Mendez (25th in 22:46), sophomore Emma Crist (31st in 23:01) and sophomore Meghan Douglas (38th in 23:41).
“As a team, we had a sub par day. We had hoped to be in the thick of things, but that didn’t materialize. Erin made a strong move during the second part of the race to put herself in position and then she finished it off with a monster kick in the last half mile. She definitely earned her berth in the state meet,” said Coach Miehe. “Reghan Komprood was very sick on Monday and got a bit better as the week went on, but didn’t run a full workout all week. She was seventh at the conference meet and she was the 70th runner to finish on Saturday. Ilse battled a sore leg, but still dug in and ran her best time ever.”
The Redbirds will compete at the 2015 WIAA State Meet held at The Ridges golf course in Wisconsin Rapids on Saturday, Oct. 31. The Division 3 girls’ meet will begin the festivities, starting at 12 noon; and the D3 boys’ meet is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.
2015 WIAA DIVISION 3 SECTIONAL MEET
Boys Team Scores: Darlington 60, Boscobel 67, Albany 111, Lancaster 124, Prairie du Chien 173, Belleville 187, Wisconsin Heights/Barneveld 196, Parkview 202, Waterloo 233, Riverdale 243, Kickapoo/La Farge 266, Iowa Grant 303, North Crawford 330, Wauzeka-Steuben 365, Fennimore 418, Rio/Fall River 421, Pecatonica/Argyle 510, Cassville inc, Madison Country Day/Abundant Life Christian inc, St. Ambrose Academy inc.
Individual Sectional Champion: 1- Dakota Kauffman, Bosc, 16:32. Individual State Qualifiers: 3- Mason Geary, K/LF, 17:13; 4- Brian Mathews, Riv, 17:20; 5- Tyler Gilbertson, Bell, 17:33; 7- Jacob Bransky, NC, 17:36; 8- Lucas Caminiti, WH/B, 17:36.
Darlington results (5,000-meter): 2- Jaden Komprood, 16:56; 11- Sean Barbee, 17:45; 14- Payton Heinberg, 17:51; 16- Tanner Evenstad, 18:01; 17- Blake Cwynar, 18:20; 19- Connor Hackett, 18:28; 41- Trae Schilling, 19:31.
Girls Team Scores: Albany 41, Lancaster 76, Boscobel 81, Darlington 120, Prairie du Chien 136, Wisconsin Heights/Barneveld 156, Waterloo 207, Belleville 210, Madison Country Day/Abundant Life Christian 235, North Crawford 255, Fennimore 279, Rio/Fall River 309, Iowa Grant 345, St. Ambrose Academy 388, Kickapoo/La Farge 412, Cassville inc, Parkview inc, Pecatonica/Argyle inc, Riverdale inc, Wauzeka-Steuben inc.
Individual Sectional Champion: 1- Noelle Maire, Bell, 19:28. Individual State Qualifiers: 2- Mackenzie Kauffman, Bosc, 19:50; 5- Camryn Burtness, Park, 21:10; 6- Allison Weiss, MCD/ALC, 21:31; 7- Erin Wolf, Darlington, 21:34.
Darlington results (5,000-meter): 7- Erin Wolf, 21:34; 20- Paige Schilling, 22:29; 25- Ilse Mendez, 22:46*; 31- Emma Crist, 23:01; 38- Meghan Douglas, 23:41; 53- Jaci Moseley, 24:45; 65- Reghan Komprood, 25:17.
* Best Time ever
At Darlington, on Saturday, Oct. 24