Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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Badger runners capture invite titles

by Mike Ramczyk

September 20, 2012

The Badger cross country teams enjoyed plenty of home cooking Sept. 13.

Both the boys and girls squads won the Badger Invite with 38 and 33 points, respectively.

Senior Tomas Pecha took first in the seven-team event, finishing the 5K run in 16:38. For the girls, junior Elle Adams placed second overall with a 16:27 in the 4K race. Both teams had four runners in the top 10.

"It was nice to see them rewarded for their hard work," boys coach Mike Butscher said. "We know they have been a little frustrated by not having faster times, but we have run some tough courses and in some tough conditions. The 1:27 minutes (separation) for the top five runners is one of our better team performances in recent years, and we have never had that team time this early in the season."

Sophomore Alex Martinez grabbed second overall with a 16:42, and junior Gavin Denecke was fifth with a 17:33. Sophomore Jake Pierce nabbed seventh with a 17:57, and freshman Cody Sadikoff rounded out the top five with an 18:11. Butscher said many of the runners either set personal records or season bests.

"We had a lot of great performances," he said. "Tomas and Alex racing together stride for stride was exciting. They bring out the best in each other both in practice and the meets. To see our whole varsity under 18:30 at this point in the season is another great sign. The men know that there is still a lot of work to do to reach their numerous goals, and a meet like this will hopefully be a springboard to even better practice efforts and meet performances."

Butscher is pleased with the team chemistry.

"We were impressed on how the team has jelled," he said. "Whether it is Tomas, Alex or Gavin pushing each other in meets or having 14 guys running most of the toughest practices together, this team has definitely bought into the 'we over me' pledge."

Both cross country squads head to the Muskego Invite Saturday.

For the girls, senior Tristan Sproul nabbed fourth overall with a 16:31. Junior Alex Swarthout wasn't far behind in sixth place with a 16:42. Anna Kase took eighth with a 16:55. Alyssa Olsen finished off the Badger scoring with a time of 17:05, which was good for 13th.

Badger coach Stephani Reynolds said there was improvement all around.

"Our times took a drop that we have been waiting for," she said. "The girls are really starting to come together and push themselves to be the best they can be. I am extremely happy with this performance. Their times are dropping at the right time, and this is the confidence they need as we head into some of the most important races of the season."

Adams, who wasn't with the team last season, has returned with a fury. She has been Badger's top finisher in each of the last three meets.

"Elle has been tremendous so far," Reynolds said. "We are glad to have her back this year. She worked incredibly hard over the summer and deserves the times she is running."

Reynolds said the upcoming Muskego and Racine Case invites are "big" for the team. As long as the team keeps improving, it will be fine.

"Every day we talk about the importance of getting better each day," she said. "They don't give up and that is why we improve each week. They want to improve and they are working hard to do so. They saw their competition at conference relays and realize that they need to do some work to catch Westosha and Waterford."