BOYCEVILLE — The McDonell boys cross country team is heading back to the WIAA state meet in Wisconsin Rapids.
But another Mack runner will be heading to next Saturday’s race for the first time.
The Macks boys captured a Division 3 sectional team championship on Saturday and are heading to state for the second year in a row. They’ll be joined by freshman runner Julia Verbick, who qualified for the meet by virtue of her ninth-place finish.
“The kids all did really well,” McDonell coach Marty Bushland said. “I’m extremely proud of how they came on at the end of the year.”
The McDonell boys won the title with a team score of 53 points, 10 ahead of Eau Claire Immanuel Lutheran. Nick Zander and Grant Pulver led the way for the Macks by finishing in second and third place, respectively. Sam Bleskachek was 12th, Kendall Dorn took 14th and Zach Ruf finished 22nd to round out the top finishers for the Macks.
“The guys were much more focused today and that made the difference,” Bushland said.
Also qualifying for state in the boys race was Stanley-Boyd’s Nathan Bauer. The Orioles junior finished in 10th place and was fifth best among non-state qualifying team runners.
“He ran really well the last half mile,” Stanley-Boyd coach Travis Logslett said. “He caught two kids he needed to catch. We’re excited, definitely.”
Cadott was led by Cole Seibel in 28th. Eau Claire Immanuel’s Darin Lau won the individual title with a time of 16 minutes, 1.8 seconds. Cadott finished in 12th as a team and Stanley-Boyd was 14th. Lake Holcombe/Cornell and New Auburn ran as incomplete teams.
Verbick punched her ticket to state with a ninth place finish, fourth among non-team qualifiers. She’ll be joined by Lake Holcombe/Cornell’s Kayla Vavra, who finished in 11th place. Stanley-Boyd’s Paige Arnold took 15th place to lead Orioles runners and Samantha Rineck was 25th to lead Cadott.
Colfax’s Dempsey Fogarty won the girls individual title with a time of 16:06.8. Eau Claire Regis won the team title with 58 points, followed by Colfax with 61. Cadott was fifth, Lake Holcombe/Cornell took seventh, McDonell finished 12th and Stanley-Boyd was 13th.
Chi-Hi’s Barth finishes 21st at D1 sectional
At Menomonie, Chi-Hi’s Cooper Barth led the way for the Cardinals with a 21st place finish at a Division 1 sectional meet.
Barth finished with a time of 17:11.9, but did not qualify for the state tournament. He was followed by Parker Lehmann in 23rd and Zach Meinholz finishing 32nd. As a team the Cardinals were ninth with a score of 214 points. River Falls’ Trent Powell won the individual title with a time of 16:11.2. Eau Claire Memorial grabbed the team title with 51 points, followed by La Crosse Logan with 63.
For the Chi-Hi girls, freshman Katie Gienapp led the way with a 59th-place finish. As a team the Cardinals finished 12th with 328 points. Eau Claire Memorial’s Aubrey Roberts won the solo title in 14:53.6 and the Old Abes also won the team championship with 46 points, followed by Hudson with 67.
Stanley-Boyd 3, Marathon 1
At Marathon, the third-seeded Orioles upset second-seeded Marathon (25-19, 25-23, 15-25, 26-24) in a WIAA Division 3 regional final match.
Stanley-Boyd advances to face Auburndale in a sectional semifinal match on Thursday in Abbotsford. Auburndale upset top-seeded Athens on Saturday.
“We are on Cloud 9 right now,” Stanley-Boyd coach Chris Paradies said. “We played with passion. ... The girls kept their composure. They didn’t get down when we were down. That was huge tonight.”
Jamie Reit led Stanley-Boyd (31-5) with 17 kills, while Jenna Hoffstatter had 34 assists.
Peyton McCauley had 10 kills and Bailey Ducommun chipped in with nine digs. Kelly Stauske added five blocks.
Clayton 3, McDonell 2
At Clayton, the No. 3 seed Macks fell in a hard-fought WIAA Division 4 regional final to the second-seeded Bears in five sets (13-25, 25-23, 17-25, 25-21, 3-15).
Jeanne Kuehl led McDonell (24-16) with 16 kills and 26 digs. Sydney Schemenauer had 13 kills along with seven blocks and 11 digs. Dani Baier had 14 digs and Bekah Heidtke led the squad with 41 assists.
After a slow start, McDonell coach Steve Roesler said his team picked up their play and fought hard against a tough Bears squad before ultimately falling to end their season.
“I’m really proud of the accomplishments of this year’s group of kids,” Roesler said. “They came a long way from the beginning of the season to now and we began to play our best volleyball at the end of the season.”