Cardinals are off and running

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Middleton's boys cross country team finished fourth at the Verona Invite last Saturday./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

There will be no rebuilding.

Without question, this will be a year of reloading for Middleton’s girls cross country team.

The Cardinals proved that at last Saturday’s Verona Invitational, finishing second among 26 teams.

Sun Prairie won the meet with 93 points, while Middleton was second (111). Madison Memorial (122), Madison West (123) and La Crosse Aquinas (240) rounded out the top five.

Middleton’s boys finished fourth among 25 teams.

“Finishing second at Verona sets a positive tone for the season,” Middleton co-coach Isaac Mezera said. “With the depth and work ethic this team has, we'll shoot to move the whole pack forward week by week. If that happens, we could be looking at turning some heads come conference and sectional time.”

Cardinals senior Sam Valentine was second overall, finishing the 4,000-meter race in 19 minutes, 19 seconds.

“Sam Valentine ran a strong, gutsy race to finish second and break up Sun Prairie's dominant threesome,” Mezera said. “I don't think Sam is happy only to be among their top three. She wants to be in front of them.”

Sophomore Charlotte Sue was 11th (20:45), senior Milena Martin was 30th (21:40), senior Autumn Grim was 33rd (21:48) and sophomore Iris Ohlrogge was 35th (21:51).

“Charlotte will be key for us this season,” Mezera said. “She showed tremendous will power out on the course.

“Milena Martin ran a strong race, especially the final mile. Milena dug deep within herself and passed quite a few girls in the last 800 meters.”

Madison La Follette won the boys race with 49 points. Madison Memorial (90), Madison West (94), Middleton (112) and Verona (164) rounded out the top five.

“We knew going in that the Big Eight was loaded and teams would be battling throughout the season,” Middleton co-coach Cindy Bremser said. “This certainly was the case at the Verona Invitational, where the top four teams were from this conference. 

“It was an exciting race to watch, but the Middleton boys were hoping to finish higher than fourth. The good news is that it is early in the season and we had some outstanding performances.”

Cardinals junior Gus Newcomb was second overall, finishing the 5,000-meter race in an even 16 minutes, 11 seconds behind Lancers junior Finn Gessner (15:49). Sophomore Jack Rader was fifth (16:36), senior Cole Conklin-Little was 29th (17:31), freshman Caleb Easton was 35th (17:34) and junior Ryan Madoch was 41st (17:45).

“Two athletes in the top-5 is exceptional positioning,” Bremser said. “Gus Newcomb ran the fastest race of his career, improving by 46 seconds from last year. 

“Jack Rader was the top sophomore in the meet, placing fifth and improving by 42 seconds. Jack is fearless running with the top pack of boys.”

While the Cardinals would have liked to place higher, Bremser was encouraged with what she saw.

“I feel this first race lets us know that we have our work cut out for us, but that we have the potential and talent to keep improving to be where we want to be at the end of the season,” she said.

• On deck: Middleton is at the Spring Green Invitational Saturday at 8:30 a.m.

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