Girls cross country team second at Stoughton

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Rob Reischel
Megan Schwartz and Middleton's girls cross country team finished second at the Stoughton Invitational on Sept. 29./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

In 1991, a group of five freshman basketball players arrived at the University of Michigan.

The quintet — dubbed “The Fab Five” — was widely regarded as the greatest recruiting class in the history of college basketball. And it’s easy to see why, as those youngsters led Michigan to consecutive trips to the NCAA championship games.

Today, Middleton’s girls’ cross country team has a “Fab Five” of its own — and some talented upperclassmen, as well.

And on Sept. 29, Middleton’s gifted youngsters helped the Cardinals race to a second place finish at the Stoughton Invitational.

Madison West won the team title with 45 points, while Middleton was second at 96. Waunakee (98), Monona Grove (101) and Stoughton (134) rounded out the top five.

“The girls were content with their second place finish at the Stoughton Invitational,” Middleton coach Alexa Richardson said. “I did not give them any expectations going into the meet. I just wanted them to focus on their own races and not worry about what their projected places or times would be.

“Having such a young team I think it's important to not get caught up in expectations at each meet. I have been extremely pleased with the amount of ‘togetherness’ and the team atmosphere in general this year.”

Freshman Lauren Pansegrau finished third overall, completing the 5,000-meter course in 18 minutes, 49.60 seconds.

“Lauren has really impressed me, mainly because of her work ethic,” Richardson said. “Lauren is not afraid to go out with the leaders at the beginning of every race and see what she can do. Every race has been an experiment and learning experience for her. 

“Lauren is quickly learning that she is already one of the fastest in the state, and that just puts more fuel in the fire for her. My biggest hurdle with Lauren — which was my own hurdle when I was in high school — is holding her back. Lauren always wants to do extra work and go the extra mile. Her drive is rubbing off on some of the other freshman.”

Freshman Maddie Ruszkiewicz was ninth in 19:48.30, while junior Megan Schwartz was 10th in 19:48.60. Freshman Erin Gonter was 21st (20:24.30) and freshman Hannah Kasdorf was 49th (21:28.30).

Only the top five scores in each race are counted. But Middleton freshman Sami Whiteis (53rd, 21:33.90) and junior Maeve Gonter (55th, 21:41.70) both had solid races, as well.

“Upperclassmen Maeve Gonter and Megan Schwartz have made their priority to integrate the freshman into the team,” Richardson said. “Maeve and Megan have been outstanding role models and leaders, which is one of the reasons I think our team is really blossoming this year.”

Middleton hasn’t been to the state tournament since 2013. But as championship season approaches, Richardson is extremely excited about what lies ahead.

“The girls have not tapered for any meet yet, so I am eager to see what they can bring to the table when their bodies are fresh and rested,” Richardson said. “I know going to state as a team is everyone’s main goal this season, and I definitely think it's attainable considering the amount of time and effort they have put into the season so far. 

“You get out of it what you put into it, and if that saying holds true, the lady cards are definitely on the right track for qualifying for State.”



Team scores: Madison West 45; Middleton 96; Waunakee 98; Monona Grove 101; Stoughton 134; Jefferson 165; Milton 209; Oregon 215; Wisconsin Dells 219; Janesville Parker 243; Madison La Follette 250; Sun Prairie 269; Madison East 310.

Top five individuals: 1, Nashold, MW, 18:06; 2, Linse, Jef, 18:47; 3, Pansegrau, Mid, 18:50; 4, Hoopes, Wau, 18:57; 5, Bowman, MW, 19:22.

Middleton: 3, Pansegrau 18:50; 11, Ruszkiewicz 19:49; 12, Schwartz 19:49; 21, Gonter 20:25; 49, Kasdorf 21:29.

At Stoughton High School, 5,000 meters.


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