Holle’s 2nd-place run helps CG-B repeat as class of Central Lakeshore meet
Nobody’s been faster in Central Lakeshore Conference cross country the past three years than the Cedar Grove-Belgium boys’ team.
The Rockets successfully defended their CLC title Oct. 14 at Sheboygan Lutheran, narrowly beating the host squad, 39-45, and appear primed to return to the state meet again.
Junior Alex Holle, who led Cedar Grove-Belgium much of the season while Joel Merritt recovered from a leg injury, came out of nowhere to place second in the 5,000-meter race with a time of 17 minutes, 2 seconds.
At last year’s conference meet, Holle was seventh in 17:33.
“The guy’s on fire,” Rockets coach Ron Wood said. “He trusts his training.”
Merritt finished fifth in 17:14, nine seconds off his pace last year, when he was second.
“Joel is getting it back. He’s still a little hesitant, I think, but ready to go,” Wood said.
Among the other Rockets, Richard Beabout was seventh (17:28) and Brandon Krauska was 10th (17:52). Krauska’s time was 29 seconds faster than last year.
Mike Merritt finished 15th (18:25) to round out the top-five totals that count for the team score.
Zacke Lyons and Josh Beaudry were 18th and 19th, respectively, both finishing in 18:53. The Rockets had their entire team finish in the top half of the 43-runner field.
“They’re all hitting stride at the right time,” Wood said.
Rounding out the team standings were Random Lake in third with 98 points, followed by Oostburg (100), Howards Grove (103) and Elkhart Lake (135).
Ryan Mugan of Howards Grove won the boys’ race in 16:45.
Ozaukee’s incomplete lineup included Doug Grimm in 18th (18:53) and Vince Cardarelle in 36th (21:53).
Wood said that the way the Rockets are running, they have a good chance to return to the WIAA state meet to defend their Division 3 title.
The sectional meet at Sheboygan Lutheran on Saturday, Oct. 23, will be held on the same course as the conference race. The top two teams advance to the state level along with the top five individuals from non-qualifying teams.
The Cedar Grove-Belgium girls finished third in the conference behind Lutheran and Random Lake, but also have a good chance to go to state as a team, Wood said.
The Rockets’ Marina Paul didn’t three-peat as conference champion, finishing the 4,000-meter race with a second-place time of 15:38. Random Lake’s Delaney Sinnen was first in 15:10.
Cedar Grove-Belgium’s Kiera Depies, as she has been all season, was right behind with a third-place time of 15:51.
Regardless of team sectional finishes, Paul and Depies should advance to state as individuals, Wood said.
Last year, Paul won the conference race in 15:35, and Depies was second in 15:51.
Among other Rocket girls, Erika Meinen was eighth in 16:23, shaving 20 seconds off her meet time of last year. Chloe Paul was 21st (17:52), followed by Tammi Del Ponte in 26th (18:26), Carina Deppiesse in 31st (19:03) and Maria Schueller in 34th (19:25).
Lutheran won the girls’ title with 46 points, and Random Lake had 49.
Cedar Grove-Belgium finished with 60 points, followed by Howards Grove (96), Elkhart Lake (135), Oostburg (148) and Ozaukee (194).
The Ozaukee girls were missing top runner Ali Hughes (injury) and Amanda Nordby (illness).
Sarah Brown led the Warriors with a 28th-place time of 18:38, followed by Amanda Lallensack in 36th (19:38), Marissa Thill in 42nd (20:58), Annalena Feix in 43rd (21:01) and Carissa Conine in 45th (21:09).
“The CLC is a tough conference when it comes to cross country. Overall, I was pleased with our results,” Ozaukee coach Chris Raisbeck said.
“I have seen improvement in every runner. Most runners were around 30 seconds faster than earlier in the season when they ran this same course. Hopefully, we will be at full strength when it comes to sectionals.”
Random Lake will not be in the Sheboygan Lutheran Sectional because it has a Division 2 program. But Cedar Grove-Belgium will face tough competition from St. Mary’s Springs and Pardeeville.
The sectional boys’ race starts at 11 a.m., followed by the girls’ race at 11:45 a.m.