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Triton boys win state

By Greg Bates

For the first time in the Notre Dame Academy boys’ cross country program’s history it has won a state championship.

The Tritons (81 points) handily beat runner-up Lakeside Lutheran (115) to capture the WIAA Division 2 state title at The Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids on Oct. 29.

“It obviously means a great amount to these boys,” Notre Dame cross country coach John Gard said. “I’m happy these particular boys got a chance to realize their dream, because they’ve worked so hard. For the larger program and the school, hopefully it’s just the start of more special things. It’s just been a trajectory and the kids are the reason.”

The Notre Dame boys had finished state runner-up three of the previous four years. So to finally get over the hump is a huge relief for Gard and his runners.

“It was very emotional,” Gard said. “All kids in high school have gone through a lot with all this ‘COVID-ness’ and to be disciplined enough to work all these years to get to this spot is I think a special gift. It’s just pure fun, too.”

Gard said the key to his team winning was each of his runners knew exactly what their job was. The Tritons’ top four runners placed in the top 18 overall.

“They were confident going in that they were focused on what the mission was and they executed perfectly,” Gard said. “These guys at a mile and a half into the race, we felt like they were all in position to do what they came to do, and every one of them had the look in their eye and they were not in any distress. We felt good that they would finish the race well.”

Senior Isaac Nowak led the way with a third-place finish (16:16.3).

“Isaac is the most mentally tough kid I’ve ever coached,” Gard said. “He was disciplined enough early in the race to run the best race of his life. The race went out really fast and kids can get sucked into getting out over their skis and he was smart enough to just hang back and then just moved. I’m so proud of him for his last high school cross country race to run the best race of his life and it’s the fastest time any Notre Dame boy has ever run at state on that course and the highest any Notre Dame boy has ever finished.”

Joseph Stumpf, a senior, came in 13 th (16:52.1). Junior Braeden Tilot finished in 16th (17:01.7) and Joseph Hunt, a sophomore, was 18th (17:02.4). Jackson Fogarty placed 31st (17:33.2) and Bryce Hawley was 34th (17:37.3) and Federrico Auricchio finished 59th (18:11.7).

The Notre Dame Academy girls also ran well at state and placed third in Division 2.

The Tritons (140) finished behind just Xavier (81) and Dodgeville/Mineral Point (124).

“We went out hard, because Xavier’s excellent,” Gard said. “We knew that we needed to be up front early and just see if we could hang on, that was our shot. At the mile mark, we were leading and you take your shot. One or two of the girls struggled a little bit late. I tell people, if somebody had told me in August that we could be top three at state, I’d have been like, ‘No way.’

“They all come back, they’re just really gifted and they’re very committed to each other. As a coach, there’s nothing more you can ask for.”

Lauren Carlton, a junior, paced the Tritons with a 14th-place finish (20:22.3), followed by sophomore Kinsey Gallagher in 17th (20:28.6). Zita Lulloff came in 30th (20:59.9) and Monika Stoik was 35th (21:04.4). Ella Capomaccio was 44th (21:15.9), followed by Camille Broullire in 52nd (21:30.4) and Mia Miller in 54th (21:32.5).

Notre Dame’s top seven runners are all juniors or less, so they should all be back next season.
“Our girls are just going to get better, I’m confident in that,” Gard said. “Monika Stoik, a freshman, had a little bit of an off-day. She’s going to be exceptional. I like what the future holds for these kids. They’re going to be really good down the road.”

Division 1
After placing seventh last year in the Division 1 race at state as a freshman, West De Pere’s Kate Schmoll had the goal to finish better this season. Mission accomplishment.

Schmoll finished third overall (18:11.4), just 4.8 seconds behind the winner.

“I was very happy with my finish; it was truly an exciting race,” Schmoll said.

Schmoll had the lead after the first mile and was in second after the second mile.

“It seems as though I was alone in what I could see for the first little bit of the race, but I could definitely hear that other girls were not far behind,” Schmoll said. “It was a challenging, but a beautiful course to run. I truly thought the first-place runner was a lot farther ahead all the way until many minutes after the race when I looked at the results.”

The De Pere girls’ team finished ninth. Senior Emma Coon led the way with a 10th-place finish (19:25.4).
Junior Hope Dragseth was 12th (19:30.9), followed by Jessica Rolain in 30th (20:14.9), Katherine Pahl in 78th (21:15), Bella Heideman in 84th (21:32.7), Bella Broullire in 101st (21:51.6) and Kemily Kneeland in 111th (22:09.7).

Green Bay Preble’s Hailey Novitski came in 54th (20:17.7) in her final high school race. Reese Gustafson from Bay Port finished 60th (20:20.2) and Pulaski’s Angela Opolka was 88th (20:50.9).

In the Division 1 boys’ race, De Pere’s Grady Lenn finished seventh (15:47.8) in the first state appearance for the freshman. Bay Port’s Sam Lieuwen was 61st (17:02.8).

As a team, West De Pere placed 12th (269 points). Stevens Point (39) cruised to the title.

Noah Jahnke ran a great race for the Phantoms and placed sixth overall (16:02.9). Fellow senior Matthew Schmoll was 16th (16:25.9), followed by Vaughn Gerrits in 71st (17:34.8), Landon Nuthals in 86th (17:50.4), Ryan Flood in 90th (17:52.2), Brett Destache in 118th (18:32.3) and Lucius Janquart in 122nd (18:47.3).

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