By Paul Lecker
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – The Auburndale girls cross country team was making its third-straight appearance at the state meet, and as it did a year ago, the improvement continued.
After placing 13th in 2015 and ninth last year, Auburndale took fourth place Oct. 28 at the 2017 WIAA State Cross Country Championships at Ridges Golf Course.
The Apaches finished with 114 points, six shy of third-place Marshall. Dodgeland won the D-3 girls title with 54 points, with Lancaster second with 97.
Auburndale junior Isabella Jewell led the way, taking 26th in 20:40.04, 35 seconds better than last year when she finished 53rd.
Senior Kali Karl took 38th in 21:03.07 and freshman Erricka Zenner was 43rd in 21:09.44 to give Auburndale three top-50 finishers. Anna Kollross finished 65th in 21:32.89 and Vanessa Mitchell was 80th in 22:01.10 to round out the Apaches’ top five.
In the Division 1 boys race, Marshfield sophomore Joseph McKee and senior Jordan Dzikowich were making their first state appearances.
McKee took 48th place in 16:44.64 and Dzikowich was 80th in 17:01.11 among the 189 participants. The race was won by Drew Bosley of Mequon Homestead in 15:39.87.
“Joseph and Jordan both ran solid races today,” Marshfield coach Dan Akin said. “They both got to experience what state level competition is all about. They should be proud of their seasons.”
Boys team champions were Middleton (Division 1), Valders (Division 2), and Durand (Division 3). Stevens Point was second in Division 1. The Division 2 individual champion was Kavanaugh FitzPatrick (15:52.88) and the Division 3 winner was David Vannucchi of Onalaska Luther (15:54.83).
Sun Prairie won the Division 1 girls team title and Freedom took the Division 2 girls team championship.
Individual girls race winners were Peyton Sippy of Janesville Craig in Division 1 (18:01.56), Dana Feyen of Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau in Division 2 (18:39.68), and Marissa Ellenbecker of Edgar in Division 3 (18:56.33).