CG-Belgium girls run to ninth place

Coach was hoping for larger drop in times but was happy with the effort

CEDAR GROVE-BELGIUM girls’ cross country team held up coach Brandon Langer after Saturday’s state meet in Wisconsin Rapids. The Rockets finished in ninth place in division 3. Members included (from left) Jocelyn Wieberdink, Sara Burns, Natalie Davies, Katie Mueller, Karen Ibarra, Jacy Zajac, Grace Voskuil, Cheyenne Simonet, Lyndsay Sass and Anna Claerbaut. Submitted photo
Ozaukee Press staff

After taking last year off, the Cedar Grove-Belgium girls’ cross country team returned to state and finished in the top 10 out of 16 teams on Saturday in Wisconsin Rapids.

The Rockets took ninth with 243 points in the division 3 meet. They came in seeded eighth and finished 12 points behind Cashton for that spot.

Lancaster won with 74, and Auburndale was second with 91.

The Rockets’ rival Oostburg, which won the sectional while Cedar Grove-Belgium took second, ended up in fifth place with 151 points.

Senior Karen Ibarra again paced the team by running the 5,000-meter course in 20 minute, 46.6 seconds, good for 43rd (18th of those with full teams).

“Karen was out quick and around 25th at the half-mile mark, but the hills toward the last half of the race caught up with her a bit,” coach Brandon Langer said.

“I know Karen had her sights on top 20, so she was a little disappointed after the race, but after talking to her and putting her whole season into perspective, she realized she had a very good senior year,” Langer said.

The team’s strategy was to get out in the first mile, then attack the downhills and make a move in the final mile. Some of the hills, Langer said, slowed the runners since their positions didn’t change much.

“A majority of the girls ran faster than their sectional times, though I was anticipating a more dramatic drop from some of them,” he said.

Sophomore Cheyenne Simonet was 73rd (37th) in a personal-record 21:34.3. Freshman Lyndsay Sass was 95th (56th) in 22:16.1. Senior Grace Voskuil was 101st (62nd) in 22:27.4. Senior Katie Mueller was 110th (70th) in 22:40.8.

Langer said he hoped Simonet, Voskuil and Sass would finish close together, but they lost contact at about the .75-mile mark. He was impressed with Simonet’s race.

“She did a fantastic job attacking the downhills like we talked about, as she moved up to our No. 2 runner. This experience should give her confidence as she looks forward to next season,” he said.

It was a solid season for the Rockets.

“Considering that we had last year’s number one runner for only one meet, and also having last year’s No. 3 runner deal with an illness all season, I was impressed with the ability of the girls to step up,” Langer said.

He said he looks forward to getting Payton Navis back healthy next season and returning three varsity runners.

Large hits new low in time in taking 24th

Ozaukee’s lone qualifier, Kelley Large ran a 20:18.5, good for 24th of 152 runners.

The sophomore planned to work off of two runners who placed just ahead of her at the sectional race, coach Andrew Pfeuffer said.

“She did a great job of putting herself in position to start the race and she did a phenomenal job of continuing not to settle in the race and kept catching other runners,” he said.

Pfeuffer said Large grinded out a couple of “no-man’s land” areas where she was running by herself and made her way up to the next pack.

“I was very proud of how she responded at the state meet and of her determination to push her limits. Kelley worked hard all offseason and during the season to earn her spot at the state meet and proved again that she can compete with almost anyone,” Pfeuffer said.




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