FENNIMORE – The Darlington Redbirds boys’ cross country team is headed back to the state meet after claiming their 10th consecutive sectional title at the 2017 WIAA Division 3 Sectional Meet held at Fennimore High School’s Stephanie Giesen and Tilah Page Memorial Cross Country Course on Saturday, Oct. 21.
The #1-ranked Redbirds remained on course to garner their seventh straight D3 state boys’ championship title after running away with the sectional crown with a 41-point effort. Junior Payton Heinberg led the way by winning the individual sectional title for the second year in a row with his first-place time of 17:34.4 over the tough 5,000-meter course.
Senior Tanner Evenstad came in third overall in 18:00 and junior Tucker Lange followed in eighth-place in 18:23, while senior Paul King placed 11th in 18:49 and sophomore Bailey Schwartz placed 18th in 19:24 to complete the team scoring for the ‘Birds.
“We had some solid individual races but, as a team, we weren’t hitting on all cylinders. We are glad to come out of the meet with the win, but we know that it will take a much stronger total team effort to get the job done next week at the state meet,” expressed Darlington head coach Arnie Miehe.
New Glarus/Monticello locked up the second team berth by finish as runner-up with 129 points. Marshall was third at 155 and Boscobel was fourth at 161 in the boys’ meet.
The #5-ranked Darlington girls’ team was also hoping for a return trip to Wisconsin Rapids to defend the D3 state title they won last season, but the Lady Redbirds came up a bit short after finishing third in the team standings with 65 points behind #4-ranked Lancaster (52 points) and #7-ranked Marshall (56) at Saturday’s Sectional Meet in Fennimore.
“The girl’s loss and the way they lost was unexpected, and then knowing it was the end of the careers of seniors Emma (Crist), Erin (Wolf) and Meghan (Douglas) made it tough. When you look at the results and know how the last half mile went in the girls’ race, we had it right there. That’s high school sports,” said Coach Miehe.
Senior Reghan Komprood and junior Ilse Mendez earned individual state berths for Darlington after placing third and seventh overall in the girls’ 5,000-meter race. Komprood was third in 20:54 and Mendez was seventh in 21:16.
Wolf was third on the team after finishing 14th overall in 22:42, but the Flying Arrows and Cardinals each placed four runners in the top 15 to stay ahead of the Redbirds.
The three teams each placed their first five team runners among the top 22 finishers. Marshall was the first team with five runners in, followed by the Redbirds but the Arrows three top 10 runners sealed the sectional title.
Senior Miriam Lindqvist placed 20th overall in 23:12 and Crist was 21st in 23:17 for the Redbirds.
“Reghan and Ilse have given us a solid one-two punch all year and today was no exception. It was a classic sectional battle and we didn’t come up short for lack of effort. Miriam came through with a big race, while Erin, Emma, Brooke (Douglas) and Maddie (Crist) gave it all they had. We couldn’t quite hold on in the last mile. I am so proud of our ladies and the effort they put into this race,” reflected Miehe.
North Crawford freshman Helen Carstens earned the girls’ individual sectional title in a winning time of 20:25.7.
The 2017 WIAA State Cross Country Meet will be held at The Ridges golf course in Wisconsin Rapids on Saturday, Oct. 28. The Division 1 girls’ meet will kick off the festivities, starting at 12 noon. The D3 girls’ meet is scheduled to begin around 12:40 p.m. and the D3 boys’ meet will start around 2:35 p.m.
“They are a close group, and they have done the work. They will be ready to go on Saturday,” promised Miehe.
2017 WIAA DIVISION 3 SECTIONAL MEET
Boys Team Scores: Darlington 41, New Glarus/Monticello 129, Marshall 155, Boscobel 161, Madison Country Day/Abundant Life Christian 184, Wauzeka-Steuben 194, Lancaster 196, Albany 231, Waterloo 251, Pecatonica/Argyle 279, Belleville 286, Fennimore 292, Parkview 309, River Ridge 311, Kickapoo/La Farge 320, Iowa-Grant/Highland 327, Riverdale 445, North Crawford 465, St. Ambrose Academy inc.
Individual Sectional Champion: 1- Payton Heinberg, D, 17:34. Individual State Qualifiers: 2- Ian Barry, F, 17:45; 4- Colin Green, MCD, 18:02; 5- Josh Dahl, Alb, 18:07; 9- Jacob Reichmann, WS, 18:37.
Darlington results (5,000-meter): 1- Payton Heinberg, 17:34; 3- Tanner Evenstad, 18:00; 8- Tucker Lange, 18:23; 11- Paul King, 18:49; 18- Bailey Schwartz, 19:24; 25- Curtis Blosch, 19:33; 26- Trae Schilling, 19:41.
Girls Team Scores: Lancaster 52, Marshall 56, Darlington 65, Albany 93, Boscobel 134, Fennimore 214, Waterloo 233, New Glarus/Monticello 264, Belleville 265, River Ridge 293, St. Ambrose Academy 306, North Crawford 308, Madison Country Day/Abundant Life Christian 321, Parkview 345, Wauzeka-Steuben 378, Riverdale 393, Iowa-Grant/Highland 474, Kickapoo/La Farge inc, Pecatonica/Argyle inc.
Individual Sectional Champion: 1- Helen Carstens, NC, 20:25. Individual State Qualifiers: 3- Reghan Komprood, D, 20:54; 4- Christi Forman, Wat, 20:58; 7- Ilse Mendez, D, 21:16; 8- Emma Guenther, Alb, 21:33.
Darlington Results (5,000-meter): 3- Reghan Komprood, 20:54; 7- Ilse Mendez, 21:16; 14- Erin Wolf, 22:42; 20- Miriam Lindqvist, 23:12; 21- Emma Crist, 23:17; 31- Brooke Douglas, 24:07; 39- Maddie Crist, 24:39.