WISCONSIN RAPIDS – Darlington’s Erin Wolf really enjoyed her first run at the state meet.
Despite the rainy, cold weather and the strange feeling of running without her teammates, the Redbird sophomore set a personal-best time en route to a 37th overall finish at the 2015 WIAA Division 3 Girls’ State Cross Country Meet held at The Ridges golf course in Wisconsin Rapids on Saturday, Oct. 31.
“It was amazing. I have the experience for next year. It’s really going to pay off,” said Wolf, who became the first individual state qualifier for the Lady Redbirds since Ciara Wiegel did it in 2005. “The only thing was I really wish my team was up here with me.”
Wolf sloshed through the rain and mud to cover the 5,000-meter state course in a personal record time of 20:53.77, which placed her among the top fourth of all runners in the race and the top half of the individual qualifiers.
Not too bad for a runner who came into the state meet seeded last among the 38 individual qualifiers. She wound up finishing 19th among those individuals.
“(She) went into the race knowing (she) probably wasn’t going to medal, and there was no team to think about. It would be so easy in that situation to just go out and run an average race,” said Darlington head coach Arnie Miehe. “It impressed me so much, as a sophomore, to see her go into her biggest meet that she’s ever run in before and go after it as hard as she could to set her p.r. in the mud up there. That tells me a great deal about her effort.”
And, Coach Miehe feels that effort not only kick started an outstanding day for Darlington– the boys’ team went on to win their fifth straight state title just over an hour after Wolf’s run– but it will also go a long ways toward leading the Lady Redbirds back to the state meet next year after missing out the last two years.
“If she goes out there and doesn’t run well, it could have affected the guys. Instead, she posted her p.r. I told the boys that she was ready to go, so you should be ready, too. For her to do that in the situation she found herself in was very impressive. The guys fed off that,” noted Miehe.
And, as for next year, he added, “We got some good kids coming back. We have some definite competition in our conference, but we’ll have several good runners back.”
Amherst senior Alissa Niggemann (19:00.4) held off Westby sophomore Elena Schmidt (19:01.25) to win the D3 girls' individual state title on Saturday.
Lourdes Academy won the D3 girls’ team title for the third straight season and the fifth time in the last six years with 98 points. Westby was second with 105 points, while Albany placed fourth (160) and Lancaster took eighth (185).
“I’m going to tell the team how it was running up here. I’m looking forward to next year when my teammates are here with me,” Wolf promised.
WIAA DIVISION 3 STATE CROSS COUNTRY MEET
Darlington results (overall): 37- Erin Wolf, 20:54*.
* Best Time ever
At The Ridges–Wisconsin Rapids, on Saturday, Oct. 31