To say hopes are as high as can be for the Badger boys cross-country team’s season is not an exaggeration.
“In the back of all of our heads, I think our goal this year is probably to win state,” senior Dominic Alonzo said.
That is more than just your average hopefulness and braggadocio, though, as the Badgers come into the season as one of the state’s top contenders for the crown following a fall 2020 season that was the best in school history.
Last year’s Badgers finished sixth at the state meet for the best team finish the program has had, while then-sophomore Jackson Albanese had the school’s best individual state finish in 11th place. Earlier in the season, Albanese broke the school record with a time of 15:59.
Albanese is far from the only returner, though, as seven of the team’s eight runners from that state meet squad are all back. The Badgers are not a top-heavy group, though, as seven of last year’s top eight JV runners return as well to comprise a team that is as deep as it is talented.
All-in-all, that much experience has fostered a friendly-but-competitive environment that has led every runner to push to keep improving to keep their spot in the lineup.
“We have a really good culture here, and everyone is hungry to work hard and improve. It’s great to see that,” senior Zach Blasiman said.
Despite the talented lineup, the Badgers are trying their best not to be distracted by their dreams of state meet glory. In fact, they even avoid focusing too much on winning the Southern Lakes Conference for the third season in a row.
Instead, they want to keep their attention on improving from one meet to the next, knowing that the accolades will follow if they accomplish that simple goal.
“We want to be focused on what does better look like each day,” head coach Mike Butscher said. “Just focusing on ‘let’s run our best races at the end of the year.’”