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View from the cheap seats

View from the cheap seats View from the cheap seats

A weekly perspective on sports

I decided to highlight the Marawood Conference boys and girls cross-country championship races in my sports section this week, and for good reason because a lot of history was made last Thursday at Frey Field in Spencer.

First, the Athens boys cross country team won its inaugural conference team title in school history. Second, Edgar senior Marissa Ellenbecker captured her fourth individual conference championship. On a side note, the miniature key lime pies the Auburndale cross country runners’ parents sold at the concession stand absolutely tasted great!

I spoke to Mark Lacke of Edgar, who is the Marawood Conference commissioner, and others who’ve been involved in the conference for several years about whether Ellenbecker is the first female high school runner to win four individual conference championships. Everyone I spoke to believes Marissa is the only female to win four conference titles, but they weren’t 100 percent sure.

Lacke told me at Frey Field he unfortunately has only kept a record of team Marawood Conference cross country championships won, but not which individual boys and girls have won conference titles, over the years. Lacke said he believes former Edgar High School cross-country runner Pam Murkowski won three individual Marawood Conference cross-country championships, but he recalls she was sick with the flu during the conference title race her senior season, which prevented her from winning her fourth conference championship.

Jay Anderson of Auburndale told Lacke and I at the race finish line at Frey Field that he believes former Apaches cross country runner Tricia Breu won four individual conference championships in the late 1980s. After the race, I checked with John Karl of Auburndale to see if he could verify what Anderson told me. Karl said there’s a good chance Breu did win four conference titles, but Auburndale was a member of the Cloverbelt Conference when she attended high school.

After the conference meet, Lacke contacted the Prentice High School athletic director and principal to discover whether the school had any female cross country runners win four individual conference titles in the late 1980s. Lacke was told no Prentice female runner has ever won more than two individual conference titles, despite the team capturing three straight WIAA Class C team championships from 1985 through 1987 at Yahara Hills Golf Course in Madison.

Edgar’s girls cross country teams has won 25 Marawood Conference team championships, yet Lacke doesn’t believe any individual girl runners won four conference titles until Marissa accomplished the feat last Thursday at Frey Field in Spencer.

Casey Krautkramer Reporter The Record-Review