Boys XC team fares well at Griak Invite

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Griffin Ward and Middleton's boys cross country team fared well at the Griak Invite on Sept. 28./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Many of the top prep cross country runners in the country descended on the University of Minnesota last Saturday.

And Middleton High School proved it can run with the best of the best.

The Cardinals finished seventh out of 62 teams at the Roy Griak Invitational, despite battling injury and illness.

White Bear Lake (Minn.) won the event with 304 points, while Middleton finished with 396 points.

“The Griak was a terrific experience and a good measuring point for the team at this point,” Middleton coach Brian Finnel said. “I thought there were some positives and things to keep improving on.”

The Cardinals certainly battled through some adversity.

Egan Johnson rolled his ankle early in the race, while Peter Hoferle battled illness.

“The illness bug kind of made its way around some of the team last week,” Finnel said. “I hope that has passed and we don't see it again for the rest of the season. You know weird stuff happens sometimes and I felt like finishing seventh with Egan fading and Peter not feeling well can still be a positive.”

Zach Leffel led the Cardinals with a 66th place finish in 17:01, while Hoferle was 80th in 17:08. Griffin Ward moved up 41 places after the first mile and finished 82nd in 17:09, while Ryan Schollmeyer was 96th (17:15) and Braedon Gilles was 110th (17:20).

“I thought the guys did a great job staying together for a decent amount of time,” Finnel said. “It's helpful to do and honestly quite difficult in such in such a large race.

“But, Egan and Zach aided each other early on. Soon after Braedon, Peter, Ryan, and Griffin sped by and worked off each other.”

The Cardinals battled injuries through the 2018 campaign and eventually finished second at state. This year’s group has fought through plenty of adversity, as well, and Finnel can’t wait to see his team at full strength.

“We have had one race with our best lineup at 100%, the Arrowhead Invite, and the boys absolutely crushed it then,” Finnel said. “So, I know the potential is there to do big things. We just need a little luck to bounce our way.

“Things were pretty tight this year for scores, a few seconds had a major impact for us against upper-tier teams. Again, good conversation points and things to build off of for the next race and beyond. Having such experienced seniors on the squad helps. They know this was a good stepping stone into bigger and better things down the road.”

• On deck: Middleton is at the Stoughton Invite Saturday, where the top three teams in the state — Stevens Point, Madison La Follette and Middleton — will all run.

“We will get a good glimpse of where we stand heading into the last four weeks of the season,” Finnel said. “So I'm very excited for the meet!”

• Girls: Middleton’s girls finished 14th out of 57 teams.

Cherry Creek (Col.) won the girls race with just 75 points. Middleton finished with 520 points.

Cardinals sophomore Lauren Pansegrau finished eighth individually in 18 minutes, 24.2 seconds. Zaira Malloy-Salga was 73rd (20:02.9), Kiara Malloy-Salga was 140th (20:44.6), Maddie Ruszkiewicz was 145th (20:50.0) and Bella Chirafisi was 154th (20:55.7).


Sept. 28


At University of Minnesota

Gold Division

Top 10 teams, other Wisconsin teams (out of 62): White Bear Lake (Minn.) 304; Edina (Minn.) 338; Greeley (Colo.) Frontier Academy 341; Des Moines (Iowa) Dowling 377; Greenwood Village (Colo.) Cherry Creek 387; Madison West 391; Middleton 396; St. Paul (Minn.) Highland Park 397; Ponte Vedra (Fla.) Nease 416; Rosemount (Minn.) 458; Minnetonka (Minn.) 459. 41, Milwaukee Marquette; 46, Wausau West; 50, Eau Claire Memorial; 51, Hudson; 53, Bay Port; 59, Rice Lake; 61, Eau Claire Regis.

Top three individuals: 1, Palee, St. Paul Highland Park 15:47; 2, Anderson, Staples-Motley (Minn.), 15:47; 3, Wolfe, Cherry Creek, 15:54.

Middleton: 66, Leffel 17:01; 80, Hoferle 17:08; 82, Ward 17:09; 97, Schollmeyer 17:15; 110, Gilles 17:20.



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