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Gillett Medalist Alex Peterson Paces Area Runners at State

Issue Date: November 4, 2021

Every cross country race is different, but the state championship race brings with it a number of different caveats, and it varies wildly for every runner.

Gillett junior Alex Peterson came into the race at the Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids with lofty goals, aiming for a medal. He got that medal, taking 10th in the field of 149 runners with a time of 17 minutes, 4.5 seconds.

He got worn down in the stretch run and lost a few spots late in the race, but it was still a good day with a lot of positives to take away.

"I really wanted to get into the top 10 - that's medaling - so that was my goal. I didn't really care what my time was, just top 10. Next I'm looking forward to track. Last year I made it on the 4x800 team and the 3,200, so I'm looking forward to the two mile again this year," Peterson said. "This is going to help me a lot because I know I can be consistent like that and make my goals. Carrying that forward into track is going to help so much, and our team is such a family that it makes it so much easier."

Crivitz Sophomore Sam Lieuwen was the next area D3 runner to hit the finish line. The first time state participant finished in 41st place with a time of 17:54.5. Lieuwen made school history by becoming the first Wolverine to qualify for state cross country competition.

For Gillett's Evan Peterson, the race involved tripping and falling down at around the one and a half mile mark. He finished 68th with a time of 18:18.1.

Despite the fall, he was in good spirits after the race.

"This is perfect. It can't get any better than this for weather, and the course is just amazing," Evan said. "There's so many people, the atmosphere is great and I look forward to this every year."

The two twins have been building off one another for a long time.

"They help each other so much in practice every day. They help push each other and make each other better and I'm sure there's some competition there, but they're always so happy for each other when they are successful," Gillett coach Bill DeJung said. "They listen, they carry out race plans that you ask them to do, they are great, great to work with, that's for sure. They're great kids, they have a lot of respect for their competition and the kids they grew up running against, and I'm really proud of them."

Gillett senior Angela Mosconi took 37th of 149 runners in the D3 girls race in her final race as a Tiger. She finished in 20:58.7.

Tigers junior Carleigh Kaczmarek was 40th in the field with a time of 21:01.6.

"The girls raced really, really well," DeJung said. "They were patient through the first mile mark and just got stronger and stronger. Both of them ran really good third miles."

Not far behind the Gillett runners was Suring' junior Olivia Noack, who finished the race in 21:23.3.

Noack wasn't used to the level of competition that comes with a race such as the state championship, but she said it helped to have the Gillett runners around. DeJung concurred.

"They've run against each other a lot. In a big race like this, it's really easy to lose track of anybody you might know," he said. "You should be focused on what's right ahead of you anyway, but if you see someone you're familiar with, certainly some thinking kicks in about staying with them. That's a help."

Noack first came to the state meet as a seventh grader to spectate. Now that she's taken the next step as a runner and competed at state herself, she knows what she needs to do if she makes it back next year.

"Next year, now I know how it is to be here and how I need to race. Next year, if I make it, and that's my goal, I know next year I need to have a better strategy for running with so many girls. It was crazy. Usually, meets I go to, I'm in first place by nobody, so to come here, I have people around me, but you have to try to get around them," she said. "I kept saying to myself that my seventh-grade self would want to see me here racing to the best of my ability."



Peshtigo's Pesch Paces

Area D2 Runners

at Ridges

A lot of the talk for the Peshtigo cross country team going into Saturday's state championship was about the value of attitude and experience.

It was the third time at state for Peshtigo senior Sydney Lund. She first qualified as a freshman, just as Bulldog freshman Holly Pesch did this year.

Pesch finished the race in 20 minutes, 48.8 seconds, good for 47th of 151 runners in the Division 2 race at the Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids. Lund finished in 53rd place with a time of 20 minutes, 57.6 sseconds.

Last year, to avoid crowding during the COVID-19 pandemic, each division's race was sent to a different location. This year, everything was back at the Ridges, a course Lund was very familiar with.

Pesch said she was nervous coming into the race, but said of Lund this season, "she really pushed me a lot."

That continued through practices in the final week of the season.

"I was trying to help Holly as much as I could because I could tell she was a little nervous. It's her first time, she's a freshman, and I came here as a freshman, so I knew the ropes to the race," Lund said. "The first mile was going to be fast - it's always fast - and the second mile was going to be tougher because there's not as many people in the crowd, but it's all mental and we've just got to stay mentally tough."

Peshtigo coach Derek Smith said the team used that knowledge during the week to prepare for the course.

The first mile was faster than normal for Pesch, but not her fastest first mile ever.

She said her coaches kept telling her, "it's the same distance as all the other races. Just have fun."

Lund's attitude during the race was also about having fun in her final race in Bulldog blue.

"I came into the race and didn't want to expect much because then I might disappoint myself," she said. "So I just come in thinking, "I'm already at state, I might as well just have fun with the race' and since it was my last one, I was like, "give it all I have.'"

Peshtigo junior Andrew Nelson took 89th of 151 runners in the D2 boys race.

"It was pretty tough," Nelson said of the course. "I'm not sure if I achieved my goal, but I tried my best."

Nelson and Pesch will each be back next season with added motivation to keep pushing and return to state again.

"Two of the three are coming back next year. They can take the experience from this year and bring it to next year and use that to help the team," Smith said.

Oconto Falls senior standout Joe Adams finished the race in 17 minutes, 32.5 seconds, good for 48th place.


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