When Sydney Squier started the 2015 cross country season, she wasn’t thinking about winning races or medals.
Winning the respect of her Appleton North teammates was her top priority.
Squier was a freshman who was joining a highly successful Lightning program that had qualified its entire team for the 2014 state meet.
She was simply hoping to fit in and make a contribution.
Squier did far more than that. She became the Lightning’s top runner and one of the best in the area.
Squier had the top Division 1 finish among area girls at the WIAA state cross country meet, placing 16th with a time of 19:16.37. She took third at the Fox Valley Association meet (19:15.61) and was fourth (19:14.6) in leading the Lighting to a sectional championship.
Squier was also a second-team selection on the Wisconsin Cross Country Coaches Association all-state team
“We had a lot of good runners coming back and I knew coming into the season that it would be tight to just get a varsity spot,” said Squier. I just wanted to make varsity. That was my main goal.”
For her consistency and high finishes throughout the season, Squier is Post-Crescent Media’s girls’ cross country athlete of the year.
Age, grade: 14, freshman.
Family: Parents, Jeff and Julia; sister, Kaitlin, brother, Collin.
Best moment of the season: “That was probably my first high school cross country race of the season, the Terror Invitational. It was really big-time for me because I didn’t know I could run that fast. I wasn’t expecting it.”
Surprising herself: “I thought I’d do well this season, but I didn’t think I’d do this well.”
The finish line: “The state meet was a really cool experience. I didn’t know what to expect. Having my team there with me made for an awesome experience.”
Strategy at state: “One of our coaches, Lucas Jadin, is really big on mental toughness and talks a lot about that. So we went through mental training and talked a lot about the course and all the hills, and not slowing down when we hit those hills. We worked on finishing strong. Other than that, I just went out and ran.”
Chasing butterflies: “I get a little nervous before a race, but once I start running, it all goes away. I just go out and run.”
Role models: “I really don’t have a famous role model. I look up to my sister, Kaitlin, who is on the track team at Carroll (University). She’s a great athlete and works so hard. She had a big impact on my season. She really helped me with running over the summer and just encouraging me and pushing me to do better. And I look up to coach (Annette) Jadin, because she’s a great runner.”
What her coach says: “She’s very team oriented and very focused. She seems more experienced than you would expect from a freshman. She has an open mind and doesn’t over-think things. And she’s very humble.” Annette Jadin, Appleton North girls’ cross country coach
From trails to the court (she’s a member of the Appleton North varsity basketball team as a freshman): “Basketball and cross country are so different, but the team atmosphere is the same, and the coaches are great in both sports.”
A running family: “My mom and dad go out running all the time, but they’re more casual runners. My sister (Kaitlin) and I are the big runners in the family.”
It’s the socks: “I have these lucky socks that I wear every single race. They’re like these lime green highlight socks.”
Cross country rules: “I really love running. It’s a passion for me. And I love my teammates and coaches. It’s a big family atmosphere. You can go up to anyone and they will help you.”
Early success: “I went to Hershey Pennsylvania for nationals in track (the Hershey Track and Field Games) when I was little, like in third grade. I was more of a sprinter than a distance runner, but that was really cool and got me into running. I started cross country in the seventh grade and loved it right away.”
Who she’s listening to: “I like all kinds of music, but probably country the most. I’d say my favorite artist is probably Adele.”
The next level? “I really don’t know at this point if I want to run in college, but if the opportunity came up right now, I’d probably take it.”
—- Tim Froberg: 920-993-1000, ext. 423, firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter @twfroberg
Sydney Squier, Fr., Appleton North
Hannah Lohrenz, Jr., Hortonville: 37that WIAA Division 1 state meet (19:45.40); first at sectional meet (19:01.8); second at Fox Valley Association meet (19:03.31); all-FVA first-team.
Lindsey Grams, Fr., Little Chute: Ninth at Division 2 state meet (19:24.64); third at North Eastern Conference meet (19:36); third at sectional meet (19:10.38); honorable mention on the Wisconsin Cross Country Coaches Association all-state team; all-North Eastern Conference first team.
Kara Pyatskowit, Jr., Clintonville: 11th at Division 2 state meet (19:32.65); first at sectional meet (18:57); second at North Eastern Conference meet (19:16); all-North Eastern Conference first team.
Carisa Weyenberg, Sr., Kimberly: 50th at Division 1 state meet (19:52.18); first at FVA meet (18:51.29); second at sectional meet (19:44); FVA runner of the year; all-FVA first-team.
Mackenzie Larsen, So., Appleton East: 30th at Division 1 state meet (19:42.26); fifth at FVA meet (19:23.38); sixth at sectional (20:19); all-FVA first team.
Mary Rose Flood, So., Appleton North: 41st at Division 1 state meet (19:47.87); sixth at FVA meet (19:28.01); 11th at sectional meet (19:58); all-FVA first team.
Lauren Vosters, Fr., Freedom: 19th at Division 2 state meet (19:48.71); third at sectional meet (19:44.53); fifth at North Eastern Conference meet (19:53); all-North Eastern Conference first team.
Ashtyn Johnson, Jr., Kimberly: 43rd at Division 1 state meet (19:49.37); 11th at FVA meet (19:39.13); fifth at sectional meet (20:03); all-FVA second team.
Payton Fors, Sr., Appleton North: 58th at WIAA Division 1 state meet (19:55.90); seventh at FVA meet (19:28.68); 10th at sectional meet (19:57); all-FVA first team.
Dakota Holzem, Sr., Appleton North: 61st at Division 1 state meet (19:57.44); fifth at sectional meet (19:19.3); ninth at FVA meet (19:33); all-FVA first team.
Jaci Hinz, So., Freedom: 37th at Division 2 state meet (20:29.07); second at sectional meet (19:43.97); fourth at North Eastern Conference meet (19:48); all-North Eastern Conference first team.
Hannah Sorensen, Sr., Neenah: 78th at Division 1 state meet (20:13.80); eighth at sectional meet (19:41); 13th at FVA meet (19:46.45); all-FVA second team.
Maddy Vantassel, Fr., Appleton West. 86th at Division 1 state meet (20:22.12); seventh at sectional meet (19:37) and 10th at FVA meet (19:33.35); all-FVA first team.
Honorable mention: Hailey Ruplinger, Sr., Kimberly; Taylor Schulz, Jr., Fox Valley Lutheran; Jordan Van Camp, Sr., Freedom; Abby Murphy, So., Freedom; Lauren Drankoff, Sr., Appleton North; Michelle Petkovsek, Sr., Waupaca; Taylor Young, So., Clintonville; Gracie Woelfel, So., Little Chute; Iris Hertting, Fr., Appleton North; Mada Laundrie, Jr., Kimberly; Kari Brekke, So., Appleton North; Olivia Eisch, So., Kimberly; Abigail Helwig, Jr., Neenah; Ashley Handschke, Jr., Kimberly; Mackenzie Scholz, Jr., Kimberly; Josie Knuth, So., Freedom; Sam Weiler, Sr., Neenah; Abigail Helwig, Jr., Neenah; Kaitlyn Olsen, Fr., Neenah; Jacqui Beran, Jr., Neenah; Megan Senderhauf, Jr., Neenah; Morgan McClone, Jr., Neenah; Caitlyn Verhasselt, Fr., Freedom; Melissa Hofacker, Fr., Freedom; Claire Van Beek, Jr., Hortonville; Mari Seidler, Fr., Xavier; Kylie Sturm, Fr., Fox Valley Lutheran; Hailey Witt, Fr., Fox Valley Lutheran; Natalie Bradish, Sr., Xavier.