WISCONSIN RAPIDS – Girls who wondered how fast they are compared to the boys will get their chance to find out today at the WIAA state cross country championships.
No, the boys and girls won’t be running side by side, but they will be running the same 5,000-meter course that the boys have run since 1988, when it was created at the Ridges Golf Course.
This was the first year that girls ran a 5K sparingly during the year, but for the entire tournament series.
If there ever was a time to change up the course, this would have been the year, but local organizer Jim Newman decided there is no reason to change what is a fair, but challenging, route.
“We designed that course 28 yards ago, and it’s stood the test of time,” Newman said. “We feel it’s a great course and there is a lot of history associated with it. Chris Solinsky set the course record his senior year with an incredible time, and we don’t think that we should change something that is still working after all these years.”
Solinsky, a three-time Division 1 champion from Stevens Point Area Senior High, set a course record of 14 minutes, 54 seconds in 2002. The closest any boy has come to Solinsky’s record was Derek Storkel of Tomah, who won the D1 title in 2008 in 15:26.
Defending champs: In Division 1, Olin Hacker from Madison West is back in the field to defend his title. He is the only returning champ among the boys.
Returning medalists in Division 2 include Eric Brown II of Wisconsin Lutheran, who was third last year, and Nekoosa/Port Edwards’ Ben Eidenschink, who finished sixth.
Boscobel’s Dakota Hoffman is the only returning medalist, placing fifth last year in Division 3.
SPASH won its 10th title last year and is back in the field and gunning for championship No. 11. Runner-up Madison West also returns, as do La Crosse Logan and Madison LaFollette, the fourth and fifth placing teams last year. Wisconsin Lutheran is back in the field after winning last year and in Division 3, Darlington is back to defend its title.
Camille Davre of Whitefish Bay is the top D1 returning runner and was third last year. Shorewood’s Morgan Florsheim is the D2 defending champion and Nora Keller of Oshkosh Lourdes placed second last year in the Division 3 race and is the top returning athlete.
Three-time defending D1 champion Arrowhead has a chance to tie Waukesha West’s record of four straight titles from 1998-2001. Green Bay Notre Dame was last year’s D2 runner-up and is the top returning team, and in Division 3, champion Lourdes is back in the field.
Mark Massoglia can be reached at 715-423-7200, ext. 6736. Follow him on Twitter @markmazzy.