CROSS COUNTRY: Alayna Franson 11th at state
Kav FitzPatrick wins D2 boys race
STAR JOURNAL REPORT
Rhinelander High School senior girls cross country runner Alayna Franson came within one place of earning a medal in Saturday’s WIAA State Meet at the Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids.
Franson finished the Division 2 race 11th in 19 minutes, 47.66 seconds, less than 7 seconds behind the 10th and final individual medalist, Martin Luther freshman Jordan Koepke, who finished in 19:40.91.
This year’s individual champion, Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau junior Dana Feyen, finished more than a minute ahead of Franson in 18:39.68. The only other girl in Division 2 to finish in less than 19 minutes, Wisconsin Dells sophomore Laura Beghin, was second in 18:52.95.
Franson, who placed fifth a week earlier at the Division 2 Sectional in Waupaca, finished the state race ahead of all but one qualifier from that sectional, Marinette sophomore Katelyn Kitzinger, who placed ninth in 19:39.36.
RHS head coach MJ Laggis said he is “super proud of Alayna.”
“She has worked really hard over the course of her career and she serves as a great role model for younger student athletes in our community,” Laggis said. “She wasn’t afraid to give her best effort and invest herself fully into it, and in the end she has set the table for herself to start her collegiate running career next season. We couldn’t be more proud of her character and work ethic.”
This was Franson’s third time competing at state. She improved on her place and time from last year’s Division 2 race, when she finished 14th in 19:53.71.
Freedom, which won this year’s Waupaca Sectional, also ended up as the Division 2 state champion with 68 points, 30 points ahead of the runner-up, Wisconsin Dells. Lakeland Union High School, the Waupaca Sectional runner-up, was ninth at state with 218 points.
LUHS BOYS 8TH AT STATE
LUHS’s boys, which won the 2016 Division 2 state team championship, ended up this year in eighth place at 222 points with Valders (60) and Dodgeville/Mineral Point (99) taking the respective top-two team places. Medford, the Waupaca Sectional team champion, ended up ninth at state with 242 points.
Thunderbirds senior Kav FitzPatrick won the state individual championship when he recorded the top time of 15:52.88. Two seniors from Valders, Cody Meyer and Trevor Wenzel, finished second and third, respectively, in times of 16:00.36 and 16:00.91. Medford senior Trey Ulrich was the only other qualifier from the Waupaca Sectional to medal at state by placing seventh in 16:30.96.