SPASH, Pacelli boys’ cross country teams claim sectional titles
By Jacob Heid
PORTAGE COUNTY – With another WIAA cross country season nearing completion, the SPASH (D1) and Pacelli (D3) boys’ cross country teams won their respective sectional titles at races on Oct. 21.
SPASH hosted its D1 sectional at Standing Rocks Park in Stevens Point and took first place with 17 team points.
In Colby, Pacelli claimed a D3 sectional title with 60 team points.
Individuals from Amherst, Rosholt and Stevens Point (girls) also qualified for the state tournament in Wisconsin Rapids despite not making it as a team.
The Panthers ran on familiar territory, with all seven finishers taking a top-10 spot.
A handful of upperclassmen led the field for SPASH. Senior Aloysius Franzen paced the field with a blistering 14:53 time that gave him first place. That was on pace for a 4:48 mile time.
Sophomore Cooper Erickson and senior Bode Erickson followed directly behind in second and third place.
Erickson (Cooper) crossed 58 seconds after Franzen at 15:51, while Cooper (Bode) finished with a time of 16:05.
The next trio of Panther runners finished in positions five through seven.
Juniors Andrew Dziak and Graham Ballard finished with nearly identical times in fifth and sixth place.
Dziak ran for a 16:13 time, while Ballard rounded out the scoring three seconds later for six points.
Even with the scoring finished, senior Cooper Gunderson and junior Matt Frank took seventh and 10th, respectively.
Pacelli also dominated as a team, placing all five scored times in the top 22, and six of the seven runners ran to top-25 finishes.
With another top-three finish this season, sophomore Luke Eiden took third place with a time of 16:47.5.
Senior Sam Carpenter wasn’t far behind, leading all seniors on Pacelli with a seventh-place finish, timing in at 17:21.5
Two other Pacelli finishers rounded out the top 15 with their impressive finishes.
Junior Lucas Haemmerle (13th) and freshman Jaden Garski (15th) finished at 18:07.4 and 18:09.3, respectively.
Senior Nolan Wojchik finished the scoring with a hold on 22nd place.
Other finishers on the team included sophomore Daniel Constantinea in 25th and Joey Burch in 37th.
As for individual qualifiers, three area girl runners and one boy racer qualified for the state tournament on Saturday, Oct. 28.
Stevens Point runner Tessa Bruckhart took first place in the D1 girls’ race to advance to state in her first season.
Teammate Jalyssa Groskreutz finished in seventh place to advance as well.
In D3, Rosholt senior Sophia Bablitch took second place in Colby to advance to her fourth-consecutive state appearance.
On the boys’ side, Amherst’s Max Voss had roughly a 15-second cushion in his first-place run at the D2 sectional in New London.
The state tournament is at Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids.