CROSS COUNTRY: Alayna Franson returning to state meet
RHS girls 10th, boys 14th at D2 sectional
STAR JOURNAL REPORT
Rhinelander High School senior Alayna Franson has once again advanced to the WIAA State Cross Country Meet as an individual qualifier.
At Saturday’s Division 2 Sectional at Waupaca, Franson finished the 5,000-meter girls race fifth overall in 20 minutes, 26.55 seconds. Franson, now a three-time state qualifier in cross country, had advanced to state last year when she also finished fifth at the Waupaca Sectional.
RHS head coach MJ Laggis said he is “really proud” of Franson’s efforts to earn another berth in the state meet.
“The thing that impresses us most as coaches about Alayna is her work ethic,” Laggis said. “While she is a gifted runner naturally, she has worked extremely hard to get the results that she has gotten. She is a great example of what happens when hard work and determination meet opportunity. We look forward to her having a great meet.”
In last year’s Division 2 state girls race, Franson placed 14th out of 152 finishers.
This year’s individual sectional champion at Waupaca, Lakeland Union High School sophomore Ashley Peterson, was the only girls runner to finish in less than 20 minutes with the winning time of 19:56.89. Marinette sophomore Katelyn Kitzinger placed second in 20:05.29. Freedom occupied two of the top-five spots with senior Jaci Hinz third in 20:18.34 and junior Lauren Vosters fourth in 20:24.99.
Franson was the only state qualifier for the Hodag girls, who placed 10th out of 15 teams with 226 points. The sectional’s top-two teams and the top-five individuals not on the top-two teams all qualified for the state meet, which will take place this coming Saturday at the Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids with the Division 2 girls race set to start at 1:20 p.m.
Freedom topped the team standings with 43 points, followed by LUHS (73), Medford (85), Mosinee (177) and Tomahawk (187) rounding out the top-five teams.
RHS had one other girls runner in the top 25 with senior Anna Sturzl placing 17th in 21:32.38. The Hodags’ three other runners whose finishes counted toward the team score included: freshman Abigale Henrichs, 58th in 24:14.39; sophomore Jenna Younker, 70th in 25:01.1; and sophomore Valerie Dalka, 76th in 25:40.06.
DANIEL RITCHIE 25TH
The Hodag boys, who placed 14th with 258 points, didn’t have any runners advance to state with the team’s best individual showing coming from sophomore Daniel Ritchie, who placed 25th in 18:40.09.
The top-three individuals all finished in less than 17 minutes. LUHS took the top-two places with seniors Kav FitzPatrick and Darius Diver finishing in respective times of 16:35.53 and 16:54.61. Medford senior Trey Ulrich was third in 16:59.66.
Medford won the boys team title at 78 with LUHS also advancing to state as the runner-up at 89. Oconto Falls came in third at 138, followed by Tomahawk (141) and New London (145) in the top five.
RHS’s four other boys runners whose finishes counted toward the team score included: senior Markus Johnson, 38th in 18:59.39; junior Bridger Flory, 40th in 19:01.88; freshman JC Adams, 74th in 20:10.26; and freshman Jacob Weddle, 85th in 21:23.55.