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Eagles shine at Thunderbird classic


September 27, 2018

It was a busy week for the Sauk Prairie boys’ and girls’ cross country teams.

But it was business as usual when the Eagles competed at the Thunderbird Challenge in Baraboo on Sept. 18 and the Reedsburg Invitational on Sept. 22.

Sauk Prairie’s boys’ team continued to shine, winning the six-team Thunderbird Challenge and taking second at the Reedsburg Large Schools six-team event. The Eagles’ JV boys’ team also finished first at Reedsburg.

Meanwhile, the Sauk Prairie girls continued to improve by leaps and bounds, finishing fifth out of six teams at Baraboo and fourth out of six teams at Reedsburg.

“Having two meets in five days is always a little concerning as we are setting up our training plans,” Sauk Prairie coach Andy Sherman said. “We want the athletes to do well, but the main goal is to come through them as healthy as we were going in.”

So far, so good. 

At the Thunderbird Challenge, junior Hudson Haas covered the 5,000-meter course in 17 minutes, 42 second to finish second and pace three Sauk Prairie runners in the top four en route to the team title.

Haas was followed by juniors Noah Wankerl (17:50) and Camden Desroches (18:10), who were third and fourth, respectively.

The Eagles’ top five runners placed in the top-14 to finish with 34 points. Host Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln was second with 52 points. Mauston’s Josiah Ziebell won the individual title in 17:32.

“Conditions on the course were good,” Sherman said. “It was a bit humid, which did affect a few (runners). The mosquitoes were horrendous, though.”

Sherman said the Eagles’ lead trio ran together for approximately two miles.

“They had a target time to get to the two mile in 10:56,” Sherman said. “The second mile at Baraboo is a tough one, so they didn’t quite hit it. At that point, they were free to go after the finish. That was the point that they became separated.”

Junior Casey Vande Hey was 11th in 18:50, while senior Tucker Holloway was 14th in 19:11 to round out the scoring for Sauk Prairie.

The split between the Eagles’ first and eighth runners was an impressive 35 seconds.

“I really like the depth that we have on the boys side right now,” Sherman said.

Also placing in the top-20 for Sauk Prairie were sophomore Sam Beattie, who was 15th in19:11.5, freshman Dalton Zirbel, who placed 16th in 19:12, and senior Tristan Blechinger, who finished 17th in 19:17.

“All of the boys had very nice performances,” Sherman said. “Because we focused on running even splits, they were relaxed and confident throughout the whole race. Any time you can be fortunate to turn in good performances, a by-product can be actually winning.

“This was great for the confidence of many of our runners on the boys team. They know we continue to improve and build to the end, and this was one of a list that they can check off as a positive.”

 In the girls’ race, Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln won the meet with 65 points, just ahead of runner-up Baraboo (66). Sauk Prairie tied for fifth with 100 points but won a tiebreaker on sixth runner criteria.

Willow Sering won the individual title for Wisconsin Rapids, covering the 5,000-meter course in 20:31.

Freshmen Trinity Doerre (21:59) and Kassia Marquardt (22:59) finished fifth and 11th, respectively, to pace Sauk Prairie.

That was good news for Doerre, who had recently been hampered with blisters on her feet.

“Trinity was able to get treatment for her blisters and they bothered her a bit, but not nearly to the point they did at the Badger Challenge,” Sherman said of Doerre. “She is continuing to learn more and more each race. As she does that, she will keep moving up the list, each and every week.”

Rounding out the scoring for the Sauk Prairie girls’ varsity were sophomore Emily Herbrand, who was 22nd in 23:52; senior Bethany Johnson, who was 30th in 24:37; and freshman Meadow Liedtke, who was 32nd in 24:38.

“I thought all of the girls really ran nice races,” Sherman said. “They are still learning how to feel pace within the race. By giving them targets to hit, they were able to run a much more even and controlled race.

“Trinity and Kassia medaling was very nice. I like how Emily is starting to get back into racing shape and has started to drop her time. We are also getting really good performances from Bethany and we can now add Meadow Liedtke and Marissa Howard to that top seven.”

It was another good day for Sauk Prairie on Saturday at the Reedsburg Invitational at the Hartje Outdoor Learning Center.

Madison East placed its top five runners in the top 12 overall to win the six-team Large Schools boys’ meet with 33 points. Sauk Prairie placed three runners in the top 10 and was second with 53 points.

Wankerl led the way for the Eagles, finishing fifth overall in 17:20. Haas was eighth in 17:43, while Deroches was 10th in 17:53. Vande Hey (17th in 18:36) and Beattie (25th in 18:55) rounded out the team’ top five finishers.

In the JV meet, senior Tristan Blechinger was second in 19:00, while freshman Ritchie Wolff was fifth (19:59) and sophomore Phillip Geiselman was sixth (20:11).

“It was nice that the JV boys were successful,” he said. “A varsity group gets most of the credit and publicity, so this was a chance for them to get a little recognition. We are a deep team that just keeps trying to get better.”

In the girls’ race, Reedsburg took the Large Schools’ team title with 49 points followed by Baraboo (67), Madison East (76) and Sauk Prairie (87).

Doerre again paced the Eagles, taking seventh in 22:07 followed by Marquardt in 15th in 22:45. Herbrand (26th in 23:33), Liedtke (40th in 24:19), and Johnson, (43rd in 24:28) rounded out Sauk Prairie’s top five.

“The competition was good for us,” Sherman said. “Madison East is a very good team on the boys side, and Reedsburg’s girls had a great day. 

“The plan for Saturday was to continue with our effort to even our splits out within the race. Both teams are really starting to get a better feel for their paces and it is helping them complete stronger races. We’ve had great improvement all around.”

• On deck: Sauk Prairie will compete at the Platteville Invitational on Saturday at 9 a.m.

Sept. 18

Baraboo Thunderbird Invitational


Team scores: Sauk Prairie, 34; Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln, 52; Baraboo, 77; Mauston, 93; Lodi, 123; Reedsburg, 143.

Top 10 Individuals: 1, Josiah Ziebell, M, 17:32; 2, Hudson Haas, SP, 17:42; 3, Noah Wankerl, SP, 17:50; 4, Camden Desroches, SP, 18:10; 5, Ethan Agren, B, 18:10.5; 6, Harrison Sullivan, WRL, 18:12; 7, Noah Dalege, WRL, 18:16; 8, Jacob Cafferty, M, 18:23; 9, Sam Forstner, WRL, 18:27; 10, Garrett Exo, B, 18:36;

Sauk Prairie scoring: 2, Haas, 17:42; 3, Wankerl, 17:50; 4, Desroches, 18:10; 11, Casey Vande Hey, 18:50; 14, Tucker Holloway, 19:11.

Rest of team: 15, Sam Beattie, 19:11.5; 16, Dalton Zirbel, 19:12; 17, Tristan Blechinger, 19:17; 21, Richard Wolff, 19:47; 40, Phillip Geiselman, 21:06; 41, Owen Kolnik, 21:10; 50, Hunter Kent, 21:53; 52, Cameron Tucker, 21:58; 65, Ryan Godwin, 23:05; 67, Carson Enge, 23:12; 68, Luke Taylor, 23:15; 71, Sam Juckett, 23:38; 76, August Begalske, 24:01; 77, Kaleb O’Donnell, 24:02; 91, Julian McCann, 28:27.


Team Scores: Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln, 65; Baraboo, 66; Lodi, 72; Mauston, 93; Sauk Prairie, 100; Reedsburg, 100.

Top 10 Individuals: 1, Willow Sering, WRL, 20:31; 2, Journey Malacina, M, 20:54; 3, Faith Dix, WRL, 21:24; 4, Sarah Price, WRL, 21:38; 5, Trinity Doerre, SP, 21:59; 6, Molly Stewart, B, 22:07; 7, Anna Boppart, M, 22:23; 8, Lauryn Milne, L, 22:30; 9, Victoria Patten, B, 22:43; 10, Venna Krayer, B, 22:45.

Sauk Prairie scoring: 5, Doerre, 21:59; 11, Kassia Marquardt, 22:59; 22, Emily Herbrand, 23:52; 30, Bethany Johnson, 24:37; 32, Meadow Liedtke, 24:38.

Rest of team: 35, Briar Lohr, 24:50; 36, Marissa Howard, 24:52; 42, Cassie Radl, 25:10; 51, Emma Kopecky, 26:08; 54, Taylor Bierstaker, 26:24; 57, Abby Dovin, 26:46; 64, Signe Begalske, 28:49; 70, Juliana Renly, 29:30; 76, Caitlyn Kinnamon, 31:42.

Sept. 22

Reedsburg Invitational


Large schools

Team scores: Madison East, 33; Sauk Prairie, 53; Tomah, 69; Portage, 93; Baraboo, 113; Reedsburg, 176.

Top 10 Individuals: 1, Max Loetscher, ME; 16:36; 2, Riley Siltman, E, 17:04; 3, Tyler Jones, P, 17:10; 4, Henry Hansen, ME, 17:20; 5, Noah Wankerl, SP, 17:20; 6, Eugene Peterson, T, 17:33; 7, Gabe Wasserman, ME, 17:42; 8, Hudson Haas, SP, 17:43; 9, Benedict Gallagher, E, 17:46; 10, Camden Desroches, SP, 17:52.

Sauk Prairie scoring/overall: 4/5, Wankerl, 17:20; 7/8, Haas, 17:43; 8/10, Desroches, 17:52; 14/17, Casey Vande Hey, 18:36; 20/25, Sam Beattie, 18:55; 22/27, Tucker Holloway, 19:00; 24/30, Dalton Zirber, 19:04.


Large schools

Team scoring: Reedsburg, 49; Baraboo, 67; Madison East, 76; Sauk Prairie, 87; Portage, 90; Tomah, 118.

Top 10 Individuals: 1, Hannah Wilcox-Borg, T, 20:09; 2, Jacqueline Lacen, R, 21:07; 3, McKenzie Fillner, E, 21:16; 4, Rachel Hughes, ME, 21:24; 5, Madeline Stuart, E, 21:54; 6, Sydney Hazard, E, 21:55; 7, Trinity Doerre, SP, 22:07; 8, Jenna McBride, R, 22:08; 9, Payton Cunningham, R, 22:14; 10, Molly Stewart, B, 22:18.

Sauk Prairie scoring/overall: 4/7, Doerre, 22:07; 11/15, Kassia Marquardt, 22:45; 17/26, Emily Herbrand, 23:33; 26/40, Meadow Liedtke, 24:19; 29/43, Bethany Johnson, 24:28; 30/44, Briar Lohr 10 24:32; 38/58, Marissa Howard, 25:59.


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