Rosholt boys, girls cross country teams eye return to state
Portage County Gazette
By John Kemmeter
With the final weeks of the regular season winding down, the top-ranked Rosholt High School boys and fifth-ranked girls cross country teams will look to make a push for a return to the State Meet.
WIAA Division 3 Individual State Runner-up Adam Rzentkowski is one of five returnees with State Meet experience from the Rosholt boys team that placed third at state last year, while the girls brought back all seven of their runners from last year’s State Meet.
“Hopefully we just can do a little bit better than what we’ve done the last few years with the guys at the state, and two years ago the girls got third,” said Rosholt cross country head coach Mike Trzebiatowski. “Last year it hurt when your No. 1 and 2 (runners) go down at the State Meet for the girls, that was difficult for them to get 14th, but we were hurt.
“And hopefully we can turn that around and be back on a roll,” he said.
The Rosholt boys lost seniors Sawyer Fleming (33rd overall at state last year), Jonah Guzman (52nd at state) and Dausen Anderson (60th at state) and from last year’s team that finished third at state after it totaled 109 points to finish behind Durand (79) and Darlington (104).
Leading the way this season has been the return of Rzentkowski, who placed fourth at state as a sophomore and second last year as a junior, behind two-time Individual State Champion and current senior David Vannucchi of Onalaska Luther.
“His work ethic is bar none, the best,” said coach Trzebiatowski. “And he’s made a great turn from when he was seventh, eighth grade, where he could survive on ability, and he ran some obviously, but when it got to a hard workout, he’d sand bag it, and he knew it.
“He’s so motivated now to see what’s out there, this week he ran some pretty high mileage, 70 or 80 miles, and he’s just real focused on doing the right stuff and believes in the system,” he said. “He’ll make a really nice college athlete for somebody, he doesn’t look like a runner, but he’s a grinder, and he’s embraced the training.”
The Hornets also returned sophomore Damian Dulak (51st at state), junior Matthew Ross (63rd at state) and senior Isaiah Cherek (120th at state) from last year’s State Meet, while senior Bryan Cook ran at state as a freshman and sophomore.
Also seeing time in the varsity lineup for the Rosholt boys team this season have been senior Zach Lepak, sophomore Anthony Bianco, sophomore Sam Trzebiatowski and senior Cade Bowker.
“Matt was a little bit hurt from a back muscle (last week), but it’s responding, so hopefully he’ll be up there,” said coach Trzebiatowski. “Zach is in his first year for cross country, he ran track, but he just is making big progress and is just a super, nice kid to work with. They all are, but he’s really just a, ‘tell me what to do and I’ll do it’ kind of kid.
“Cook and Sam Trebs ran PRs at our place, and Bianco’s got some ability and broke 18 minutes for the first time Thursday,” he said. “Damian has been a little bit up and down, as far as being sick and being a little bit out of shape, and Cade has been out for a week-and-a-half here not running and that hurts. He’s got some ability, and we’ll see if he garner a spot on the team to help us out, but the end of the season is coming up, and there’s not much time.”
Meanwhile, the Rosholt girls have been led by the return of junior Jordan Zdroik (13th at state as a freshman in 2016), senior Taylor Krogwold (75th at state last year), junior Jenna Trzebiatowski (39th at state as a freshman in 2016) and sophomore Logan Krogwold (58th at state last year).
“Jordan has had pretty good State Meets in the two-mile and got fourth at the last two State Meets in track, but to get in the Top 10, it could be stretch, just because there’s some OK individuals, and you’ve got to be 100 percent,” said coach Trzebiatowski. “Taylor’s been our second and Logan’s been our fourth, and Jenna’s starting to come back, that was a really good race for her on Thursday (at the Rosholt Invitational).”
Senior Kayliah Meronk, senior McKenzie Stalter and sophomore Amber Studzinski also returned from last year’s State Meet, while senior Amanda Wanta ran at state in 2016, and freshman McKenna Wierzba has joined the mix this season.
“There’s a bunch fighting for the five, six, seven spots,” said coach Trzebiatowski. “There’s a little competition, which it might make us a better team down the end run of the season.
“But they’ve been working pretty hard, and they’re definitely not afraid of a little work,” he said of the girls team. “Their GPAs are 3.9 and above on most of these girls, so that helps; they’re really excellent student-athletes.”
The Hornets hosted their home invite last Thursday, where Ross and Bowker were held out of the boys race, with Zdroik, Wierzba and Meronk out of the lineup for the girls on a rainy afternoon.
Rzentkowski captured the Individual Title for the boys to win for the fifth time in five races this season, followed by Lepak (third), Cook (ninth), Bianco (14th), Sam Trzebiatowski (18th), Cherek (22nd) and Dulak (27th), as Rosholt finished second (45 points) behind the SPASH JV (44).
Meanwhile, Taylor Krogwold finished third overall and Jenna Trzebiatowski was fourth to lead the girls, followed by Logan Krogwold (12th), Studzinski (14th), Wanta (18th) and Stalter (21st), as the Hornets had 46 points to win the Team Title over Bonduel (55).
“The girls ran pretty well on the wet course, and actually ran one of their better days for them,” said coach Trzebiatowski. “But we held a couple of kids out because it just doesn’t pay to put them on there until it really matters.”
Rosholt is scheduled to compete at the Wisconsin Rapids Invite at The Ridges Golf Course Saturday, Oct. 6, with the Central Wisconsin Conference Meet Thursday, Oct. 11, at Bonduel, followed by the WIAA Division 3 Sectional at Standing Rocks County Park Saturday, Oct. 20.
“For conference, we should be able to put almost five kids in the top seven or eight for the boys, which means it won’t be close,” said coach Trzebiatowski. “Then Sectionals will be Assumption, they’ve two kids up front, but they don’t have what we’ve got in the back.
“At conference, the girls will be probably OK, and then Sectionals will be interesting,” said coach Trzebiatowski. “Marathon is improved, they’ve got a couple of freshmen and another kid that didn’t run last year, and Auburndale is probably in the top five or six teams (in the state) if they run well. And we’ve got to beat one of them to get to the State Meet again.”
That will lead into the State Meet in Wisconsin Rapids Oct. 27, where the Rosholt boys will look to advance for the fifth year in a row and ninth time in 10 years, while the Rosholt girls will try to make their third consecutive trip to state and fourth in five years.
“The goal’s just to believe in what we’re doing, and let the results go where they might,” said coach Trzebiatowski. “Is there a chance we can be in the top echelon of the boys and girls? Yeah, there’s a higher chance that the boys could be closer to the top at the State Meet.
“We should be in the top five or six of the girls too, but with the guys, there’s a chance we could be a trophy team,” he said. “But you’ve got to run the race, you can’t run it for them, and they’ve got to stay down to earth and remember what got you there.”