Strong finish

Running in front of a huge cross country crowd Saturday, Oc. 27, at the state meet in Wisconsin Rapids, Cameron sophomore Josh Halverson (right) beat a pair of Athens runners to the finish line by a half second to finish 37th in a field of 151 Div. 3 runners.

Another fantastic year of Cameron cross country ended at the state run, where the Comet girls placed 15th in the team standings and Josh Halverson crossed the line 37th out of 151 Div. 3 boys.

The WIAA Cross County State Championships were held Saturday, Oct. 27, again at The Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids. The Cameron girls, who won a seventh consecutive Lakeland Conference championship and a sectional title this fall, qualified for the state run for a second straight year and the fourth time in school history.

“The girls ran a strong race,” coach David Gerber said. “Our average time last season was 22:29. This season at the state meet our average time was 22:18.

“Our four freshmen, Cali Romsos (99th out of 152), Mady Robel (109th), Brittany Breed (126th) and Taylor Severt (127th) were pretty nervous before the race. It’s hard to prepare runners for a state atmosphere. The entire 3.1 miles is lined with people several rows deep. It can be a little intimidating your first time at the state meet. This experience was great for them. They will all likely run at the state meet again.”

Junior Aurora Felonk led the Cameron girls with a 51st place finish, finishing in 20:56.

“Aurora posted her best time of the season,” Gerber said. “Aurora beat her state time from last year by 50 seconds.”

Seniors Sydney Lucas (105th) and Tori Gerber (119th) ran their final cross country race.

“Sydney ran third for the team and completed the course in 22:32,” the coach said. “Tori was struggling with a back injury but battled through and finished fifth for the team. Tori and Sydney will be difficult to replace. They have been our top runners each of their 4 years in high school.

“They were a huge part of this team’s success, not only for their running ability but also for their leadership. The work ethic they displayed everyday at practice set a great example for the younger runners. They both leave with four conference titles.

“Sydney competed in two state tournaments. Tori competed in the state tournament each of her four seasons. The first two years she qualified as an individual and these past two seasons she ran as part of our qualifying team.”

Marissa Ellenbecker, a junior from Edgar, won the Div. 3 girls race for a second straight year, finishing in 19:06 to win by 6 seconds. Lancaster won the team title with 74 points, followed by Auburndale (91), Dodgeland (147), Rosholt (147) and Oostburg (154).

Cameron, with a score of 296, finished 15th out of 16 teams.

In the Div. 3 boys’ race, Halverson continued his impressive sophomore season with a 37th place finish.

“Last season at the state meet, Josh was 39th overall,” coach Gerber said. “He also shaved 7 seconds off of last year’s time, as he completed the course in 17:22. This was Josh’s fastest time of the season. The state course is difficult, it is an impressive accomplishment to set a personal record there.”

Luther senior David Vannucchi – who has also won gold at the state track meet – won the Div. 3 race in 15:43, clearing the field by an amazing 31 seconds for his third consecutive state title.

Aquinas won the Div. 3 team title with 90 points. Rosholt (111), Brillion (140), Darlington (147) and Lake Country Lutheran (165) rounded out the top five.

In the individual results, the top eight finishers were all seniors.

“Josh is only a sophomore,” his coach said. “Boys typically take a big jump in cross country from their sophomore to junior year. I’m looking forward to him having another great season next year.”

The outlook is certainly optimistic for Cameron’s program, even as it enters the larger Heart O’North Conference next year.

“We’re looking forward to next year,” Gerber said. “The future of Cameron cross country does look bright. Both the boys and girls teams should be very competitive for at least the next several seasons. We have potential to get both teams in the state tournament next year.

“The team will hold an awards dinner Thursday, Nov. 8, in the high school commons at 6 p.m. Everyone is welcome.”