Madison West freshman Genevieve Nashold steals show, runs away with state title
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — Madison West freshman Genevieve Nashold broke onto the cross country scene with a dominating victory at the Verona Invitational in September.
She never slowed down.
Nashold capped an impressive debut season in high school cross country, pulling away in the final mile and earning a comfortable victory at the WIAA Division 1 state girls cross country meet Saturday at the Ridges Golf Course.
In the process, the Big Eight Conference champion became the school’s first girls cross country champion, according to WIAA records.
Nashold covered the 5,000-meter course in 18 minutes, 10.0 seconds, which was the fifth-fastest Division 1 time since the girls race became 5,000 meters in 2014.
“I didn’t really expect it, but it is pretty exciting,” Nashold said.
Sophomore Kate Sperka of team champion Muskego was runner-up for the second consecutive year, finishing in 18:26.5. Kimberly sophomore Brooke Edwardson (18:29.9) was third and Stevens Point freshman Roisin Willis (18:30.3), locked in a duel for the lead with Nashold during the first two miles, placed fourth.
“I really love my team,” Nashold said. “I couldn’t have done this without all of them supporting me. … I’m really happy.”
Top-ranked Muskego, with 48 points, ended Big Eight champion Sun Prairie’s two-year hold on the state title. Second-ranked Sun Prairie was runner-up with 103 points.
Sophomore Kate Kopotic (18:38.4) led Sun Prairie with a seventh-place performance, finishing just ahead of Waunakee senior Reagan Hoopes, eighth in 18:41.4. Senior Maddie Thompson was 13th and junior Hannah Ray 20th for Sun Prairie.
“I’m really proud of how all of our girls ran,” said Thompson, who has orally committed to Minnesota for cross country and track and field. “It was easily apparent that they all gave 100 percent effort. That’s all we can ask of each other, so I’m really proud of how we finished as a team. ... Second is still really good. Muskego is an amazingly strong team.”
Third-ranked Onalaska (112) and fourth-ranked Madison West (121) finished third and fourth, respectively. Madison West junior Kristina Rohrer’s 19th-place finish complemented Nashold’s winning performance.
Janesville Craig claimed eighth and Madison Memorial 10th.
Denmark senior Leah Kralovetz earned the title in 17:46.7, which was the second-fastest Division 2 and overall time for 5,000 meters at the state meet. She just missed the top mark of 17:46.23, set by Madison Edgewood’s Amy Davis in 2014.
Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau senior Dana Feyen (18:19.2), winner the past two years, was second.
After placing second at state the past two years, Wisconsin Dells junior Laura Beghin capped an injury-plagued season by finishing eighth (19:09.2).
Beghin suffered a right hip injury at the River Valley Invitational in early September, which forced her to miss four meets, and said she remained bothered by a left leg injury (stress fracture in her tibia) that sidelined her during track and field season last spring. Beghin said she couldn’t sprint, but was pleased to attain her goal of making the podium (top-10 finishers).
Other top area finishes were turned in by Jefferson senior Mariah Linse (19:14), who placed 10th, and Linse’s teammate, sophomore Makenzie Hottinger (19:55), who was 20th. Those results helped the Eagles finish seventh.
Wisconsin Dells was ninth, Lake Mills 11th and Mount Horeb 16th.
“I’m so proud of these ladies,” Beghin said of her Wisconsin Dells teammates. “Even if we didn’t win or podium, I still wouldn’t trade them for anyone else. They are amazing people — more than just athletes.”
Sixth-ranked Medford totaled 106 points and claimed the team title, nine points better than last year’s winner, third-ranked Freedom. Top-ranked Green Bay Notre Dame (118) was third.
Edgar junior Marissa Ellenbecker (19:06.4) defended her title.
Johnson Creek junior Hannah Constable (19:33.1) earned 10th; Poynette sophomore Katelyn Chadwick was 18th.
Top-ranked Lancaster took home team honors, with 74 points — led by senior Lydia Murphy (13th) and freshman Bridee Burks (19th). Third-ranked Auburndale (91) and fifth-ranked Dodgeland (147) were second and third, respectively. Fourth-ranked Marshall wound up sixth.
Ilse Mendez, a Darlington senior, placed fifth in 19:21.4.