DARLINGTON — The first-place team trophies from the 32nd annual Darlington Cross Country Invitational didn’t have to travel to far to find a permanent home after the Redbird boys’ and girls’ cross country teams swept the team titles at the annual early season meet held at DHS on Saturday, Sept. 5.
The defending champion Redbirds were expected to open up strong– especially with the absence of rival Boscobel, who decided to run at the Verona Invitational instead of at Darlington this season– and they more than lived up to their hype by claiming the boys’ title with 32 points.
Senior Jaden Komprood led a group of seven Redbirds who finished in the top 15 by winning the boys’ 5,000-meter race by a 47-second margin with his time of 16:41.
However, it was a pleasant surprise to see the Lady Redbirds on top as well as the hosts won their meet for the first time since 2012 after placing four runners among the top 11 spots to hold off conference foe Albany, 56 to 62, for the title.
Albany also finished second in the boys’ race with 99 points.
Senior Blake Cwynar placed fifth for the ‘Birds in 17:47, and he was followed in by senior Sean Barbee in seventh (17:52) and freshman Payton Heinberg in eighth (17:55) while sophomore Tanner Evenstad placed 11th (18:21) to finish off the team scoring for the hosts.
“Our varsity ran a strong team race. I was pleased with their patience, and then their moves in the second part of the race. We have some young guys who are running well,” said Darlington head coach Arnie Miehe about the performance of the boys’ team.
Junior Connor Hackett (18:30) and freshman Tucker Lange (18:32) came in 14th and 15th,respectively, in the race.
Sophomore Reghan Komprood pulled in sixth in 22:07 to lead the Lady Redbirds in the girls’ 5,000-meter race. Sophomore Erin Wolf followed in seventh (22:14) and junior Paige Schilling was eighth (22:26) for the hosts, while sophomores Emma Crist (22:46) and Meghan Douglas (23:33) placed 11th and 24th overall to help lead the ‘Birds to the title.
“I was impressed with the determination that our ladies ran with. They are coming together as a team and it showed on Saturday,” Miehe noted about his girls’ squad.
Junior Bailey McDonald was 35th (24:59) and senior Jaci Moseley was 55th (26:37) for the varsity squad.
“Up and down the lineup on both teams we had first-year runners running smart and strong races,” admitted Miehe. "As the season goes on and they learn more about racing, they will continue to improve and make our team stronger. All in all it was a good start to the season, but we still have a lot of work to do and we need to keep improving if we are going to be in the thick of things at the end of the year."
Belleville junior Noelle Maire won the girls’ race in a time of 19:42.
Lancaster placed third in the girls’ race with 71 points, while two-time defending champion Dodgeville/Mineral Point finished fourth with 95 points.
Darlington will compete at the annual River Valley Invitational in Spring Green on Saturday, Sept. 12, starting at 8:30 p.m.; and the Redbirds will also run at the Marshall Dana Waddell Invitational on Tuesday, Sept. 15, beginning at 4:30 p.m.
2015 DARLINGTON INVITATIONAL
Varsity Girls Team Scores: Darlington 56, Albany 62, Lancaster 71, Dodgeville/Mineral Point 95, Prairie du Chien 145, Pecatonica/Argyle 186, Mt. Horeb 189, Belleville 204, Fennimore 217, North Crawford 235, Cashton 258.
JV Girls Team Scores: Dodgeville-Mineral Point 20, Lancaster 62, Darlington 86, Monroe 96, Holy Family 123, Belleville 160.
Junior High Girls Team Scores: Cashton 16, Albany 55, Prairie du Chien 81, Lancaster 115, Saint Ambrose Academy 144, Richland Center 169, Darlington 187.
Varsity Boys Team Scores: Darlington 32, Albany 99, Dodgeville/Mineral Point 109, Lancaster 129, Monroe 140, Prairie du Chien 175, Mt. Horeb 181, Belleville 234, Southwestern/Cuba City/Benton 234, Riverdale 236, North Crawford 237, Iowa-Grant/Highland 238, Pecatonica/Argyle 364.
JV Boys Team Scores: Dodgeville/Mineral Point 40, Monroe 44, Darlington 61, Holy Family 90, Tri-State Homeschool 153, Mt. Horeb 155, Riverdale 194.
Junior High Boys Team Scores: Richland Center 50, Lancaster 70, Belleville 83, Fennimore 112, Holy Family 125, Prairie du Chien 126, Albany 138, Tri-State Homeschool 140, Darlington inc.