MHS runners shine at Verona Invite

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Middleton’s Gus Newcomb finished second individually at the Verona Invite last Saturday./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

It’s a season of great expectations inside Middleton’s boys cross country program.

And the Cardinals showed last Saturday they’re ready to live up to the hype.

Middleton won the 25-team, star-studded Verona Invitational. The Cardinals finished with 54 points, while Madison West (60), Monona Grove (131), Madison La Follette (134) and Sun Prairie (138) rounded out the top five.

Middleton put four runners in the top-13, led by senior Gus Newcomb. The Cardinals’ standout finished second overall with a personal-best time of 15:18.89 on the 5,000-meter course and was narrowly edged for the title by Lancers senior Finn Gessner (15:17.93).

“It was pretty awesome to win a big meet,” Middleton coach Brian Finnel said. “I think the juniors and seniors were waiting for this for a while. They have certainly earned it with all the miles they have put in.

“This is the first time we have won this invite since 2001 for the boys program. We just need to keep being smart with training and stay healthy. If we can continue to do that, I'm hopeful we can keep things rolling.”

Middleton’s girls were third among 25 teams.

Sun Prairie captured the girls’ title with 45 points, while Madison Memorial (112), Middleton (140), Madison West (144) and Wisconsin Dells (177) rounded out the top five.

“I thought the Verona Invitational went very well for our first meet,” Middleton coach Alexa Richardson said. “The girls worked together through the very hilly course, helping each other in order to achieve a third place team finish.”

The race of the day came between Newcomb and Gessner on the boys’ side.

Gessner is the defending Division 1 individual state champion, while Newcomb was fifth at state last year. Both showed last Saturday that they’ll once again battle for the title.

Gessner built a sizeable lead after two miles, only to have Newcomb come charging back. The two were dead even with a half-mile to go, then Gessner had slightly more kick down the stretch.

“Gus is the real deal,” Finnel said. “He definitely raised some eyebrows today. I think people thought Finn would just come in here and dominate this race.

“Finn made a move around two miles and gaped Gus. In years past, Gus wasn’t quite there aerobically to respond to that move. But (Saturday), he closed the gap.

“Gus is much more aerobically strong compared to years past. Even though he didn’t get the win, this is a big confidence booster for Gus. It’s going to be fun to watch these two duke it out this year.”

Several other Cardinals shined, as well.

Junior Jack Rader was fourth individually (16:03.03), while sophomore Caleb Easton was 12th (16:31.34) and senior Ryan Madoch was 13th (16:33.74). Middleton junior Sam Jaeger rounded out the scoring with a 23rd place finish (17:05.21).

“The team was quite nervous heading into this meet,” Finnel said. “I’m hoping with this race done there are some lower levels of anxiety. The first thing I told the guys in the huddle before they did their team cheer was to simply relax — take a few deep breaths. 

“Overall, I was really proud of the entire team. I liked the competitiveness we displayed. The guys didn’t back down and responded well throughout the race.

“We still have some things to get better at as a team. I think one of the biggest challenges we face is trying to close the gap between all of our runners. The closer the time is between our team, the better chances of long-term success we can have. I think that will come with time and more race experience for our squad though.”

Richardson was awfully happy with the girls’ performance, as well.

Junior Charlotte Sue led the Cardinals with a 13th place finish (20:16.61) and junior Erika Rader was 18th (20:32.09).

“Erika and Charlotte worked together the whole race and proved to be very competitive,” Richardson said.

Freshman Maeve Gonter was 30th (20:49.93), senior Maya Gibson was 36th (21:02.08) and junior Iris Ohlrogge was 43rd (21:16.51).

“Maeve Gonter surprised us all by placing third,” Richardson said. “This is only the second 5K Maeve has ever run. Maeve made multiple, critical, seemingly effortless moves throughout the duration of the race, passing almost 20 competitors.”

In all, it was a terrific start for Middleton’s young, revamped team.

“I am extremely excited for what the rest of the season will bring, as I expect great things from all of these girls,” Richardson said.


Sept. 3



Overall team scores: Middleton 54, Madison West 60, Monona Grove 131, Madison La Follette 134, Sun Prairie 138, Janesville Craig 236, Stoughton 253, La Crosse Aquinas 258, McFarland 276, Oregon 282, Verona 314, Monroe 349, Madison Memorial 369, Platteville 369, Baraboo 412, Mauston 422, River Valley 449, Kenosha Indian Trail 458, New Glarus/Monticello 541, Westfield/Montello 553, Fort Atkinson 555, Whitewater 565, Westby 602, Wisconsin Dells 669, Wauwatosa West 710.

Division 1: Middleton 38, Madison West 40, Madison La Follette 86, Sun Prairie 92, Janesville Craig 134, Oregon 163, Verona 169, Madison Memorial 198, Kenosha Indian Trail 238.

Division 2: Monona Grove 32, Stoughton 63, McFarland 73, Monroe 93, Baraboo 109, Fort Atkinson 151, Wauwatosa West 196.

Division 3: La Cross Aquinas 47, Platteville 76, Mauston 90, River Valley 111, New Glarus/Monticello 150, Whitewater, Westfield/Montello 151, Westby 166, Wisconsin Dells 205.

Top 10 individuals: 1, Gessner, ML, 15:18; 2, Newcomb, Mid, 15:19; 3, Hatfield, RV, 16:02; 4, Rader, Mid, 16:04; 5, Pahnke, McF, 16:10; 6, Zamzow-Schmidt, MW, 16:14; 7, Farrell, JC, 16:18; 8, Ellenbecker, MG, 16:22; 9, Iselin, Pl, 16:23; 10, Letcher, MW, 16:29.

Middleton results: 2, Newcomb 15:19; 4, Rader 16:04; 12, Easton 16:32; 13, Madoch 16:34; 23, Jaeger 17:06.

At Verona High School.



Overall team scores: Sun Prairie 45; Madison Memorial 112; Middleton 140; Madison West 144; Wisconsin Dells 177; Janesville Craig 192; Verona 234; Stoughton 242; Kenosha Indian Trail 299; Platteville 319; Oregon 338; McFarland 346; Fort Atkinson 401; Whitewater 402; Monona Grove 404; La Crosse Logan 410; Mauston 419; Westby 437; La Crosse Aquinas 448; Monroe 453; Madison Edgewood 522; Baraboo 563; River Valley 632; New Glarus/Monticello 648; Westfield/Montello 697.

Division 1: Sun Prairie 33, Madison Memorial 73, Middleton 87, Madison West 89, Janesville Craig 125, Verona 145, Kenosha Indian Trail 161, Oregon 193.

Division 2: Stoughton 53, McFarland 70, Monona Grove 80, La Crosse Logan 91, Fort Atkinson 99, Monroe 109, Baraboo 138.

Division 3: Wisconsin Dells 48, Platteville 75, Mauston 116, Westby 118, La Crosse Aquinas 123, Whitewater 124, Madison Edgewood 158, New Glarus/Monticello 211, River Valley 213, Westfield/Montello 233.

Top 10 individuals: 1, Beghin, WD, 18:53; 2, Pringle, SP, 19:02; 3, Owca, MM, 19:10; 4, Hacker, MW, 19:45; 5, Taylor, KIT, 19:48; 6, Dushack, SP, 19:48; 7, Ray, SP, 19:49; 8, Barrett, WW, 19:58; 9, Peterson, MM, 20:02; 10, Wozniak, St, 20:10.

Middleton results: 13, Sue 20:17; 18, Rader 20:33; 30, Gonter 20:50; 36, Gibson 21:03; 43, Ohlrogge 21:17.

At Verona High School, 5,000 meters.



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