Despite running through the cold rain, girls cross country finished their season strong taking second at state on Saturday, October 31. Varsity runners ran for a score of 138 at the WIAA state championships meet. While Pewaukee took first place with a score of 112, second place was a close call and needed a tiebreaker.
“We were tied with Luxembourg … after our top five runners crossed the finish line,” said Sarah Kopplin, head coach. “Our sixth runner happened to be Megan Curtis, [senior], and she ended up in 62nd place … their sixth runner was in 88th place.”
From the beginning of the season, the team wanted to win the state championships. “We started off really strong. The captains and the team, we had a motto of ‘all in,’” Kopplin said. “I saw incredible work ethics. I knew that this team was working hard. … People were getting along well; … we had a good environment, a good tone. It was a good place to be.”
But varsity especially had to overcome challenges so the team could pull through. “It was looking a bit rocky,” Kopplin said. “We were training well, but it wasn’t showing up on the course.”
Kopplin said varsity’s confidence was low before sectionals, but after beating Wisconsin Lutheran, a team they struggled against earlier in the season, the boost they needed was given.
“[At state, varsity] finally had a day where everyone put out their absolute best effort,” Kopplin said. “We beat teams we were crushed by earlier in the season … It was pretty tremendous.”
Injury was a problem for both varsity and junior varsity throughout the season. “For me personally, it was a battle since I got a concussion,” said Ashley Kinnard, junior. “I got set back and I had to move forward … [Injury is] a hurdle that you have to get over and that you have to find a way past.”
Even with the challenges, JV had performed like “rock stars” the whole season, Kopplin said. They placed high in all their meets and took first at their conference.
“We took conference champs second year in a row … We had a title and we claimed it,” Kinnard said. “It was really nice.”
With the help of assistant coaches Nick Szczech and Kenzie Vicker, Kopplin said she was able to give her support to as many runners as she could. This was the first year the district paid for an assistant coach to help with the record number of 62 runners.
“It was really nice to have a staff of three of us so we could give everyone the ability to be coached and have attention from their coaches and feedback to see improvement,” Kopplin said. Kopplin and runners alike are excited for the chance to run next year.
“I think running is one of those things where you can always find something you want to improve on,” said Clara Guequierre, sophomore. “I think that’s good and bad. You can have a race that’s amazing, but you can still think of something that maybe you want to do better on … I want us to keep going, keep striving to get better.”
By Lorlei Boyd