MHS runners headed to state

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Middleton's Sam Valentine was all smiles after qualifying for state./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Gus Newcomb is thinking big.

Dreaming bigger.

And maybe, those visions will become a reality on Saturday.

Middleton’s boys cross country team won the WIAA Division 1 Waunakee Sectional last Saturday. Now, the Cardinals are aiming for the sky at Saturday’s state meet at Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids.

Madison La Follette is the state favorite. But after the Cardinals lost to the Lancers by just one point at the conference meet, they realize anything is possible.

“As a team, we want a state title,” Newcomb said. “After being beat by La Follette at conference by only one point we realized is possible.”

Anything seems possible right now for Newcomb and the Cardinals.

Newcomb ran a brilliant race and won the Waunakee Sectional. Newcomb finished the 5,000-meter course in 16 minutes, 34.8 seconds.

That helped Middleton win the sectional with just 42 points, easily outdistancing runner-up Madison Memorial (74).

“The race felt good for me,” Newcomb said. “The real difficulty was the weather and hills. I felt a little bit tight for the first two miles of the race, but I got to open my stride on the last mile and it started to feel really natural.”

Newcomb’s teammates had sensational days, as well.

Sophomore Jack Rader was second overall (16:46.4) and senior Perrin Hagge was third (16:47.4).

“As Gus Newcomb and Jack Rader took the lead with a mile remaining, they pushed the pace and the group began to string out,” Middleton coach Cindy Bremser said. “When Gus took the lead, he was able to establish a pace that gave him a comfortable lead.

“Jack Rader ran aggressively with Gus and was able to hold onto his position. Perrin Hagge was always in striking distance, but did not make his final surge for the third position until about 200 meters to go. His closing speed is very impressive and his ability to pass athletes in the end of the race will benefit the team at the state competition.”

Middleton sophomore Sam Jaeger was 16th (17:29.4) and senior David Marrone was 20th (17:37.7).

“Our No. 4 and 5, Sam Jaeger and David Marrone, covered the hills with authority and remained with the pack to maintain their excellent positions,” Bremser said. “David, as an experienced senior, is having a strong consistent season. Sam, as a sophomore is gaining valuable experience and racing like an upperclassman.”

Now, Middleton heads to state where it believes it can make a title run.

“We knew coming into the race that we had to execute in order to move on and everyone came up big and got the job done,” Newcomb said. “Bringing the team to state means tons in terms of representing the team, school and our coaches.”

Middleton’s girls finished third at sectionals and narrowly missed out on a trip to state.

Madison West won the team title with 39 points, while Madison Memorial was second (58) and earned the final team trip to state. Middleton (62), Stoughton (81) and Oregon (154) rounded out the top five.

Cardinals senior Sam Valentine had a sensational race and won the individual title, finishing in 19:30.4. That was 45 seconds faster than the runner-up finisher.

“Sam Valentine took the lead from the beginning leaving her competition in the dust,” Bremser said. “Every time I saw her on the course she increased her lead from 50 meters to 70 meters than 150 meters, until I couldn't see the second place athlete. She ran that challenging course with confidence.”

Charlotte Sue finished fifth in 20:18.9 and also qualified for state as an individual.

“Charlotte ran the entire race determined to make it to state,” Bremser said. 

Erika Rader was 15th (21:19.5), Milena Martin was 18th (21:29.0) and Iris Ohlrogge was 23rd (21:54.1).

“Our other runners certainly put in the effort, but fell four points away from having the state experience,” Bremser said. 


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