RACINE — Albany’s girls team thought it had what it took to push for a spot in the state championship. Through midseason injuries and a truncated schedule, the Comets rolled with the punches. But at the WIAA Division 3 Prairie School Sectional, the bad luck finally caught up with them.
Albany tied Burlington Catholic Central with a team score of 59, but BCC advanced to state based on the tiebreaker of the No. 6 runner. BCC’s Eva Lynch finished 22 seconds ahead of Albany’s Payton Wachholz, who battled a leg injury so severe she had been unable to finish the conference championship and subsectional races over the week and a half prior.
The tiebreaker only goes to the sixth runner. Albany’s seventh runner, Emileigh Dallman, finished 51 seconds ahead of BCC’s seventh runner.
Sophomore Mckenna Broughton paces Albany, finishing third overall with a time of 20 minutes, 40.9 seconds. Freshman teammate Ava Ahnen was next at 20:44.2. Random Lake freshman Halle Van Horn (19:33.5) won the race, with Dodgeland freshman Ava Raasch (20:09.3) finishing second.
Albany’s pack of 3-5 runners finished in order. Sophomore Linsey Mueller (22:31.1) was 21st overall, with freshman Avary Briggs (22:35.7) 22nd and junior Kaiya Zurfluh (22:39.1) 23rd. Wachholz (23:33.9), a junior, was 29th overall, and Dallman (23:42.5), also a junior, was 31st.
Ozaukee won the team title at the sectional, with Dodgeland finishing fourth.
Broughton and Ahnen advance to the WIAA Division 3 state meet, which will be held at Maple Grove Venues in West Salem, near La Crosse. The pair of Comets will run in the third and final session of the day, with the times of all races unavailable by press time.
In the boys sectional race, the Comets placed a distant third as a squad with 69 points. The Prairie School (36) won the meet, with Kenosha St. Joseph (44) second and Horicon (85) third.
Sophomore Gage Roth (18:13.1) was the first Comet to cross the finish line, taking 10th overall. He finished 21 seconds shy of qualifying for the state meet.
Albany junior Jesse Schwartz (18:22.5) was steps behind his teammate, finishing 13th overall.
Sophomore Brian Cid (19:45.4) was 26th overall and senior Owen Baertschi (19:54.0) took 28th. Freshmen Brayden Bakken (20:09.9) and Drew Sertle (20:21.3) finished 32nd and 33rd overall, and junior Andy Gertsch (22:10.1) was 38th.
DARLINGTON — The Redbirds are headed back to the boys state cross country meet for the 13th time in 14 years.
Darlington won its own sectional, tying Brookwood with 38 team points — and winning the team title tiebreaker by less than four seconds.
Junior Rhett Reuter was the first Redbird to cross the finish line, finishing fourth overall at 17:30.8. Sophomore teammate George West (17:32.3) was fifth, senior Cristian Gutierrez (18:48.3) 15th, senior Caleb Weaver (18:59.1) finished 17th, and junior Ethan Thompson (19:22.0) was 23rd overall.
On the girls side, Darlington freshman Raquel Reuter was the only Redbird to advance to the state meet, finishing fifth overall with a time of 20:22.4. Judith Meister, a junior, was 14th overall (21:28.3), and was 54 seconds from qualifying as an individual.