Area runners compete at WIAA cross country state meet
By Rich Palzewic
Photos by Amy Dahlin
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – The De Pere High School girls’ and boys’ cross country teams finished 14th and 16th respectively at the WIAA D1 state cross country meet in Wisconsin Rapids Oct. 27.
Bay Port’s Ryan Thieme (27th – 16:20) and Rachel Hoffman (40 – 19:41) and Ashwaubenon’s Randy Johnson (62 – 16:40) took part individually.
The 3.1-mile race took place is cold and rainy conditions at the Ridges Golf Course.
The De Pere girls were making their first trip to state since 2016, while the boys last made it in 1994.
Aisa Longnecker led the charge with a 24th place finish (19:27), while Kylie Trousil was close behind in 28th (19:47). Jordan Meulmans (44 – 20:09), Ella Ericksen (112 – 21.20), Grace Sukoaty (122 – 21:34), Alexis Trousil (123 – 21:36) and Elena Miller (127 – 21:44) rounded out the results.
The only senior De Pere runners that competed at state were Sukowaty and Miller, so expect the Redbirds to make a strong push to get back to Rapids next season.
On the boys’ side of things, Andrew Lopez (35 – 16:36) and Aaron Milkie (36 – 16:37) finished less than a second apart. Matthew Galler (57 – 17:01), Daniel Ericksrud (106 – 17:27), Max Steichert (112 – 17:35), Wesley Ericksen (123 – 17:49) and Tyler Blum (139 – 18:43) also competed.
Like the girls’ team, the boys have most of their talent coming back next year, with Milkie and Wesley Ericksen being the only two state seniors who will graduate.
Thieme, a three-time state qualifier, finished 126th in 2017, so the junior improved by almost 100 places this season. According to assistant coach Andy Nuthals, Thieme passed 25 runners in the last mile this year.
The senior Hoffman, a two-time state qualifier, improved by 52 spots from a season ago.
The senior Johnson last made it to Rapids in 2015, finishing 92nd.