The men entered sectional knowing that all 12 teams would line up tied. The past results meant nothing, and it was today that would decide which two teams and five individuals would advance to state next week. Just one day, but the thoughts of all of the humid summer mornings and daily practices were stored in the back of the minds of the athletes. Today would be about who could hurt the most, and which teams could run for a bigger purpose than themselves.
Entering into this season, we did not have many guys with consistent scoring experience. The top four scorers from 2020 were graduated, and a few other key scorers through the years didn't come out. We were ready to focus on the guys we had, knowing that high school XC success is built on the ability for new athletes to rise up after graduations. A new season brings new hope, and our top five at every meet this year were committed to developing into a strong team.
Patience was necessary, and patience was worth it. The men lined up at sectionals after putting in hours of work running hundreds of miles together. They feared no other team, and cared not at all about previous results, knowing that they were building every week toward their best day. That best day came Saturday.
From the gun, the men got out in great spots. Collin was out in the lead early and we knew it was going to be a great day. He has had a great history of stepping up at the biggest times, and Saturday was no different. This early move definitely amped up his teammates who followed closely behind. Collin fell back into a good spot and maintained that spot while Alex took the role as low stick moving into the top 10 and racing steady. Jack kept being Jack, running smart and putting himself higher and higher up in each race. Behind the solid third were Parker and Carson who would come up big for the team today. Dylen and Frank were having great races as well, with Dylen gaining great experience for future years and Frank getting to cap his senior year in a great race.
The team was running great, but so were Wisconsin Lutheran and Waukesha West. Our coaches knew that to get through, these would be the two teams to beat, but we wouldn't be upset if we ran great. We had to tip our cap to both of those teams if they were to beat us on our best day.
Alex continued to hold around 10th place then moved into 9th, but a huge pack lingered right behind him! He had no clue that he was in a position to qualify as an individual, he was just fighting for the lowest possible points for his team. With that selfless mindset, he ended up holding on to the last individual spot by 0.7 seconds! He held off every guy to finish 9th and be a strong low stick. Coming shortly later was Collin in 16th, who had an awesome third mile moving up from 17th and providing a good 1-2 scoring duo. These are the top two we knew we had all year and it was the race we waited for to see them both come in like that.
Then came our 3-5 in tandem right after with Carson moving up 9 spots the last mile to be our 4th man! That was huge points for us, while Jack moved up 2 spots and Parker maintained his position as our 5th man. Being able to compete as a team is always dependent on your whole team, not just your top 1 or 2 runners. Today, we put 5 in the top 33 in the toughest sectional in the state! The team ran their best race of their season and lives thus far, and it ended in a 4th place finish. We tipped our cap.
For younger athletes, they got to see the power of a loving team as well as the importance of off season running. Our top 5 scorers were the most consistent guys in the off season and it showed on Saturday. The men got to see what it takes to get to the state meet. Our 4th place finish was actually the 10th best team performance in the entire state this week if you were to combine all the results. It shows that when it mattered, we were once again a top program. This also shows that you need to run fast no matter what sectional you are in. Some years and locations will be tougher, but you can't control that. You can control the vision of the team and how you want to work together to create something great. Have no limits.
This team is the best I have coached. That is the hope with each season, that you coach the best team, but it is always up to the men to choose what kind of team they want to be. Starting back at CWES camp last summer, this team wanted to rise up and be great. They were the unknowns, the ones who weren't given a shot, but the same ones that didn't care what others thought. They trusted in their progression and put themselves in contention on the day it mattered. That fourth place finish to us coaches was a very proud moment because we know what these guys have done to be here. They got the most out of themselves by putting in the miles and then racing with love. Just check out the monster improvements from last year and you'll get a glimpse of the story of this team.
Alex advanced to the state meet as an individual after running the 10th fastest time in school history! The whole team helped create the moment and without them, Alex wouldn't be the same runner. We hope to see many of the guys come up Saturday to watch him compete! I know many of the seniors are planning to drive up and will be talking to younger athletes in giving them rides. See the information below on tickets and parking. It will be a great meet and a great opportunity for Alex to have his best race. As always, there are bigger things to come!
2021 Hale XC Results.
Monday, I am asking all athletes to come after school to our usual practice spot where they will turn in their CLEAN uniforms and locks. I will be there to check them off and it will be a quick process. We will then have a team meeting for ALL athletes to start practice at 3:30. We will recap sectionals and lessons learned, and talk about the next steps for athletes. We are highly encouraging athletes to continue training with Alex this week and I know many of the boys are planning to.
Awards Banquet and Potluck sign up!
Our 2021 team banquet is planned for Wednesday, November 3rd at 6:00 p.m. and will be held at Free Methodist Church - 2975 S. Sunny Slope Road. We would like to do a potluck once again and encourage parents/families to sign up to bring food!
Potluck Sign up here!
State Meet Spectators Info
The division 1 race is at 12:35 P.M. at the Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids. See the website below for all race times. See the links below for tickets/shuttle information. Gear is available to buy at the meet site.
All tickets are cashless and must be purchased ahead of time. You can do so at the link provided below,
All information on the state meet can be found at the WIAA website,