Doubling their pleasure:

CG-Belgium boys win sectional championship and the girls take second; Ozaukee’s Klaus is the fastest boy as Warriors head to state
Ozaukee Press staff

If there’s a triple-double in cross country, Cedar Grove-Belgium High School scored it in warm conditions last Saturday.

For the third time in school history, both the boys’ and girls’ teams qualified for the state meet. The other times were in 2016 and 2009.

The girls ran first and finished second, after which the boys won the Kenosha St. Joseph Division 3 sectional title.

“Going in I knew that both teams had a really good shot. We knew it was going to be a battle,” coach Brandon Langer said.

“I was anticipating both of them going. I didn’t want to put pressure on them. Their goals coming in were to win sectional.”

It turned out to be a three-team tourney for both genders.

The Rocket boys scored 36 points, beating Ozaukee’s 58 and Dodgeland’s 97. The top two teams advance, so the Warriors will join the Rockets at state. It’s their third time qualifying in four years.

Dodgeland won the girls’ meet with 49 points, edging the Rockets’ 54 and Ozaukee’s 65.

Ozaukee’s Owen Klaus won the boys’ race easily, finishing the 5,000-meter course in 16 minutes, 52.19 seconds.

Rocket Mason Hoopman was second in  17:28.94.

The two, like many of the Rocket and Warrior runners, are friends.

“I have a lot of respect for Owen Klaus. He’s just a really nice guy on and off the field. After the race, he congratulated me and Jamo (Jamison Velzke). He’s super fast in cross country. I look up to him a lot,” Hoopman said.

“They’ve really proved themselves and have been running good,” Klaus said of the Rockets. “With that comes better competition, and we race better and race for each other.”

For Klaus, winning was especially sweet since he finished five seconds from taking the sectional title last season. He said he was happy he was “able to execute when pressure is high and tensions are high. After how close I was last year, it was something I dreamed about.”

“Owen did a great job being patient the first mile and using the downhill into the mile-and-a-half mark to put some distance on the rest of the field. Then he did a phenomenal job of closing out the race,” coach Andrew Pfeuffer said.

Velzke, a sophomore, was fourth in 17:41.99. Rocket freshman Wes Huenink was eighth in 17:52.34 (seventh of schools  fielding full teams), and his older brother Will,  a sophomore, was 10th (ninth). Junior Michael Kuerschner was 16th (14th) in 18:36.56, and freshman Carsen Voskuil was 24th (21st) in 19:13.34.

Reid Ketterhagen was 38th (35th) in 10:20.58.

“It was crazy. In our warm-up, I think we were pretty nervous about it,” Hoopman said of winning the team event. “We all knew what we needed to do. We just kept going over it.”

“It felt pretty good,” Velzke said. “It just was reassuring to know that we beat Ozaukee. They’re a really good team.”

Klaus said he was happy to bring the team back after the Warriors finished third at state last season.

“I can feel the team chemistry growing every single meet and every single day. Having one more meet is having more fun with the team,” he said.

Warrior junior Aaron Nehls was ninth (eighth) in 17:52.64. He said he knew the team had a chance to qualify and what had to happen to earn a trip to Wisconsin Rapids.

“We had to keep in mind the competition was still there, and we had to do our jobs to make it through,” he said. “There was no guarantee. We could take first or third or fourth. We had to be on our A game.”

Warrior senior Chase Miller was 12th (11th) in 17:58.19. Sophomore Brice Schiller was 21st (18th) in 18:55.91. Senior Riley Borchardt was 23rd (20th) in 19:10.91. Freshman Dane Zimdars was 26th (23rd) in 19:17.33, and sophomore Otto Utecht was 45th (41st) in 20:36.26.

“This was a challenging meet with the unusual heat and a difficult course, but our boys came ready to compete and earned a return trip back to state. I’m very proud of how they have done this season,” Pfeuffer said.

Both teams are confident they can perform well at state, and they don’t have to look far for their biggest competition. Big East Conference member Kohler is ranked No. 1 in Division 3. The Rockets are ranked seventh and the Warriors are eighth.

Hoopman is the only Rocket boy with experience at Wisconsin Rapids.

“Just the word state kind of brings this nervousness with it,” he said. “I’m nervous for every race but it brings a different kind of feeling. This is it, what we’ve been training so hard for. The thing to remember is we’re there as a team. We should go out there and have fun. The most important thing is coming together as friends.”

A few of the Warriors are familiar with the state meet.

“Just like any other race, with better competition comes better races,” Klaus said.

He and Nehls cite team chemistry as a secret to their success.

“When the stakes are high, that’s when we really come together. It’s a lot easier to let yourself down than the team,” Nehls said. “Everyone’s doing it for each other. That’s why we all do so well.”

Rocket girls nearly win sectional

Langer said the girls’ team had just a little bit of an off day or it would have won a sectional title as well.

But they still punched their ticket.

Junior Hadley Heimerman was sixth (fourth) in 21:22.86. Senior Faith Konzak was eighth (sixth) in 21:47.73. Junior Elise Brill was 15th (13th) in 23:34.44, and freshman Ashleigh McCluskey was 16th (14th) in 22:47.79. Mallory Arroyo was 20th (17th) in 22:52.74.

Amara Beernink was 25th (22nd) in 22:39.54, and Allie Jaworski was 36th (30th) in 25:02.31.

“We weren’t cocky confident, but we knew we had a good chance. We had to work hard to get it,” Konzak said.

The Rockets found out they qualified about 15 minutes after the race.

“Then we were all pretty excited,” Konzak said.

Langer said both teams’ goals are to finish in the top five at state.

“They’ve run well all season. I’m excited to see what they can do,” he said.

For Ozaukee, Meredith Clark qualified as an individual, placing seventh in 21:26.97.

“Mere has stepped up all season long and has been our consistent No. 1 runner for most of the season,” Pfeuffer said. “She did a great job of putting herself in contention with the top runners and finishing the race strong to earn that tough individual qualifier spot.”

It was the second straight season the Warriors finished third in the sectional, just missing out on a trip to state.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t quite have our A game and we came up a little short in the team scoring,” Pfeuffer said. “Hats off to both Cedar Grove and Dodgeland running well in the heat and on a tough course.”

Junior Clara McKee was 13th (11th) in 22:19.98. Junior Kenna Pierson was 17th (15th) in 22:48.21. Becky Hoffmann was 18th (16th) in 22:49.68. Senior Sarah Tinder was 21st (18th) in 23:23.49. Sophomore Addison Schubert was 32nd (27th) in 24:46.44.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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Port Washington, WI 53074
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