By Skip Weaver
HEBRON — Bradford and Versailles girls, as well as Tristin Freistuhler and Ava Knouff of Houston competed in the state In the state cross country meet at National Trail Raceway Saturday.
In the Division III girls race, Bradford totaled 299 points to finish 11th out of 20 teams. Versailles scored 370 to place 15th as a team.
“I’m happy with how they did today,” Bradford coach Rob Grillot said of his six runners. “They went out there and ran hard and ran the best race they could with this cold weather and I am pleased with how they did today.
“We were sitting somewhere like 13th or 14th coming in so as far as I’m concerned we placed up and they ran a great race today,” he continued. “The girls are a little hard on themselves sometimes but that is because they have such a great work ethic and they just give it all they got. They have high expectations, but I hope by the end of the day they realize what they accomplished wasn’t easy. They should be proud of themselves.”
Senior Karmen Knepp was the lead runner for Bradford placing 28th overall in a time of 20:13.2. She was followed by Skipp Miller (21:00.2) in 64th place, Austy Miller (21:23.7) in 81st place, Olivia Daugherty (22:110.1) in 120th place, Mercedes Smith (23:17.8) in 153rd place and Alexis Barhorst (24:47.5) in 172nd place.
The Railroaders, who qualified as the third-place team at the regional meet two weeks ago, hope to make this an annual event on their schedule.
“Our goal is to make this a regular thing,” Grillot said. “We are losing one senior – Karmen – and she is a great runner, but we have some young ladies coming up and I’ll get all these girls back next year too. They are a group of hard working ladies and it is our goal to come back next year and beyond.”
That is something the Versailles girls have been doing for a while. The Tigers competed as a team in Saturday’s state meet for the 17th time overall. It was their second straight and 15th time since 2000.
“We were 15th and we’ll take it,” Versailles coach Mark Pleiman said. “We finished about where we were placed coming in, so we can’t be disappointed being right around where we were supposed to be. It was a good day.”
The Tigers top placer was freshman Madelyn Holzapfel. She was 84th in a time of 21:29.1. She was followed by sophomore Maria Mangen (21:50.5) in 105th place, senior Liz Watren (22:04.2) in 112th place, senior Kara Spitzer (22:14.4) in 123rd place, sophomore Lauren Menke (22:41.3) in 140th place, freshman Delaney Barga (23:36.1) in 158th place and junior Emma Peters (23:47.5) in 160th place.
“Our team is very much a pack running team,” Pleiman said. “We don’t have the frontrunner so a big meet like this makes it difficult for us. A lot of points go off the board before our first runner comes in, but overall it was a fun experience. The girls love it and I love coming here every year.
“As a freshman coming in Madelyn did great,” he continued. “It is a lot of fun because she is very coachable. She asks a lot of questions and I love that as a coach. You talk them through and coach them up a little bit. She is just a tremendous young lady. A great runner and a great athlete.”
For Houston, Feistuhler finished 81st in 17:52.7 in the boys race and Knouff finished 83rd in 25:21.1 in the girls race.