With 29 locals set to compete in Saturday’s 101st WIAA State Cross Country Championships at The Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids, one of the biggest questions going in will be if Random Lake senior Delaney Sinnen will remain perfect on the season.
Depending on what factor you put the most stock in to — last year’s state results or this year’s personal-best times — Sinnen is either the favorite to win her Division 3 race or, for the first time in quite a while, an underdog.
Sinnen, who has run virtually uncontested this season and won her Sheboygan Lutheran-hosted sectional in 14:46 to best the second-place finisher by 35 seconds, is the top returning individual in Division 3 after finishing third last year (14:54) and fourth in 2011 (15:01).
However, Isabel Seidel of University Lake School also returns this year after being on Sinnen’s heels in fourth place last season (15:06) and in 2011 when she finished fifth (14:55).
In an outcome all too fitting for their rivalry, the pair each set their personal records on Sept. 28, with Seidel’s being nearly 20 seconds faster. Albeit at different courses, Sinnen’s 14:25 at the Oshkosh Lourdes Academy Invite is certainly behind Seidel’s 14:06, set at the Janesville Craig Midwest Invite. The closest time after the pair is 14:51, a mark Sinnen broke on the regular.
Seidel’s Lake Country Lutheran-hosted sectional winning time was 15:05.
Other highlights heading into Saturday’s meet:
* Eight of the top 10 boys teams in Division 3 last year return for another shot at a team title, including two-time defending champion Darlington and the remainder of the teams finishing in the top five. Finishing 10th last season was Sheboygan Lutheran, which is one of the eight returning teams. Jacob Ames, Nathan Hasenstein, Jacob Jurss, Christian Steinert and Luke Burkart return from that squad to compete this year after winning their sectional. Lucas Parmley and Phil Leibham will be the Crusaders’ newcomers.
* In Division 1, Sheboygan North’s Trevor Damkot and Shamus Zenk are making return appearances as individuals after their team qualified last season. Damkot finished 82nd (16:54) and Zenk was 131st (17:23), but the pair have two of the Top 10 Division 1 boys times this season — Damkot No. 6 in 15:40 earlier this month at the Fox River Classic Conference East Division Meet and Zenk No. 9 in 15:52 at the same meet.
* The Division 2 girls field features 13 of the 16 teams that qualified last year, including the top eight in the team standings and 10th-place finisher Plymouth. Returning runners for the Panthers this season are Sophie Bolich, Julie Novotny, Abby Payne, Brooke Koehn, Anna Travis and Karly Knaus along with newcomer Olivia Jankowski.
* Darlington is the top returning girls team in Division 3 having placed runner-up last season while Cedar Grove-Belgium has three runners returning from its third-place team from a year ago, despite having one of the youngest squads at state. The Rockets return Lily Paul, Molly Ison and Jericho Duenk while freshmen Sydni Loose, Elysia Hoopman, Emily Sass and Maggie Turchinski will be getting their first taste of state.
WIAA Cross Country Meet
Saturday, Wisconsin Rapids
Local qualifiers, sectional times
Sheboygan North — Trevor Damkot, sr., 16:12; Shamus Zenk, jr., 16:23
Plymouth — Thomas Jankowski, sr., 17:34
Sheboygan Lutheran — Jacob Jurss, jr., 17:15; Christian Steinert, sr., 18:13; Jacob Ames, sr., 18:40; Lucas Parmley, so., 18:14; Nathan Hasenstein, sr., 18:47; Luke Burkart, sr., 18:50; Phil Leibham, sr., 19:06
Cedar Grove-Belgium — Peter Merritt, so., 17:24
Howards Grove — Eric Dvorachek, jr., 17:31
Oostburg — Adam Daane, sr., 17:24
Plymouth — Julia Novotny, jr., 15:54; Abby Payne, jr., 16:16; Brooke Koehn, jr., 16:17; Sophie Bolich, so., 16:35; Karly Knaus, so., 16:42; Olivia Jankowski, so., 16:54; Anna Travis, sr., 17:16
Cedar Grove-Belgium — Lily Paul, jr., 15:58; Molly Ison, sr., 16:28; Sydni Loose, fr., 16:31; Elysia Hoopman, fr., 16:51; Emily Sass, fr., 17:05; Maggie Turchinski, fr., 17:12; Jericho Duenk, sr., 17:19
Random Lake — Delaney Sinnen, sr., 14:46
Sheboygan Lutheran — Tess Leibham, jr., 15:31