Runners shine at state: Both teams finish in top half of field
For the first time since 2006 Hudson's boys and girls cross country teams qualified for the WIAA State Championship Meet in the same season, and despite the cold, windy conditions, both finished in the top half of their respective 20-team fields.
The Raider girls placed sixth and the boys finished ninth in the 105th running of the WIAA State Cross Country Championships at The Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids. Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln High School has hosted the state meet for the past 30 years.
Despite the cold windy condition, the 5,000 meter course stayed relatively dry as the rain and snow held off and sophomore Rachel Ball moved up two spots from her state debut a year ago to finish 13th out of 189 runners in the Division 1 girls race with a time of 19:09.2. Ball cut six seconds off her time from last year when she was the one Raider qualifier as an individual.
Sophomore Emma Filipiak was the second Hudson girl across the finish line, in 48th place overall, with a time of 19:52.42. Sophomore Anna Czupryna finished 71st in 20:05.98 and sophomore Ella Young was 97th in 20:23.68 while junior Karina Gilson rounded out the Raider scoring with a 107th place time of 20:35.55.
Other Raider finishers included senior Sarah Czupryna in 117th place in 20:43.31 and freshman Alicia Belany 147th in 21:03.98.
Sun Prairie repeated as the girls Division 1 team champion with a score of 57 and Muskego was second with 74 while Onalaska took third with 174. Hudson, the only Big Rivers Conference school in the race, finished sixth with 218.
"This was a great experience for the girls as they will return to the state meet the next two years for sure," head coach Don Krupa said. "The Onalaska girls finished third at the state meet and they are in our sectional in 2018. The Hudson girls team will need to work hard in the offseason to compete with the Onalaska team."
The Raider boys were making their third straight appearance at state and moved down five spots from last year's fourth place finish to place ninth. Hudson finished 11th at state in 2015.
Junior George Bond led the team with a 28th place time of 16:33.44 while senior Max Ball was 40th in 16:39.55. Senior Keegan Sansone finished 112th with a time of 17:13.27 and sophomore Noah Lundeen was 133rd in 17:28.54 while freshman Anthony Weeks was 150th in 17:37.13.
Senior Seth Miner came in 154th with a time of 17:43.81 while sophomore Cale Wimer was 157th in 17:50.71.
Middleton won the boys team title with a score of 76 and Stevens Point was second with 177 while South Milwaukee finished third with 191. Hudson was ninth with 298 while Eau Claire Memorial finished 14th with 312.
Krupa said the senior boys, including Ball, Sansone and Miner, who ran their last high school races Saturday, will leave some big holes to fill next year, but he's confident there are plenty of younger runners ready to step up.
"The senior boys will leave the team this year with some big spots to fill in terms of leadership and the offseason program in the summer of 2018," Krupa noted. "We will be looking to some of the freshman, sophomores, and juniors to fill in the varsity positions left by our seniors. The boys team will be at state in 2018 because they are working to develop into one of the best Hudson cross country teams that I will have the honor to work with."
The other senior boys who will graduate include Tait Saterbak, Sean Jones and Connor Hess, who split time between the varsity and JV this year, and JV runners Connor Renn, Carter Bellefeuille, Ryan Peterson, Lucas Ryan, and Isaac Young.
Sarah Czupryna also ran her last race as a Raider Saturday and will graduate along with classmates Brooke Anderson, Natalie Schlepp, Sofie Daniels, Renee Kovacic, and Kaylen Ward.
"We will miss them because of their hard work and dedication to the team," Krupa said. "The rest of the girls' team will work hard in the off season and improve on their placing in each race, because the girls want to be at the state meet as a team again in 2018."