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Moore beats nerves, gets one last state shot

Moore beats nerves, gets one last state shot Moore beats nerves, gets one last state shot


One would think a senior and three-time state qualifier would be calm, cool and collected before the start of her fourth WIAA Division 3 sectional cross country race.

But you’d be wrong.

“I was super duper nervous,” said Prentice- Rib Lake’s Serena Moore, who did qualify for her fourth trip to state Saturday in the sectional race held at Cameron.

“It was probably the worst race for that. I’ve never been so nervous. It was really bad because I knew there was good competition. I knew I had to fight for it.”

Moore qualified with her sixth-place overall finish out 36 runners in Saturday’s race. Her time of 20:16.3 was a shade off her season-best of 20:09.7 set in the WIAA subsectional at Hurley Oct. 20. She was the fourth-best individual finisher among those not on the state-qualifying teams of Chetek-Weyerhaeuser and Cameron. A top-five finish was required to go to state.

This year’s WIAA Division 3 state meet will be held Saturday at Maple Grove Venues in West Salem.

Moore’s performance was just half of the sectional story for Prentice-Rib Lake. In the other half, junior Adam Granberg came up just short of qualifying in the boys race. He placed 12th out of 38 runners in a personalbest time of 18:07.6. That was two places and 1.9 seconds behind the final qualifier, Ian Oswald of Chequamegon.

“Both of them had great races,” said Gabe Sandoval, the co-op’s co-head coach from Moore gets fourth state trip, while Hawks’ Granberg just misses

Prentice. “I think it’s clear to see that the classification of ‘Division 3’ doesn’t equate to a lack of competition or fast runners. This year’s sectional proved to have a very strong showing for both boys and girls. We told both Adam and Serena in the days leading up that despite their solid performances in the previous two races, qualifying for state is still up for grabs. Maybe having a COVID summer made everyone want to get outside and put in some miles, because both Adam and Serena had to fight for their times and placements on Saturday.”

Moore spent the entire race among a lead group of seven runners that separated itself from the rest of the field, three of whom are friendly rivals she’s become very familiar with. They are sophomores Allie Adomaitis and Claudia Lasiowski from Marawood Conference rivals Phillips and Chequamegon and Flambeau junior Kristen Lawton.

“For Serena, it was a great follow up to her subsectional race where she reached her season’s best time with hardly anyone to run with,” Sandoval said. “Then at Cameron, she had some really solid competition as she was right in the middle of the front pack of six girls, which was pretty tight throughout the majority of the race. The tough part about that is the tendency to get caught up pushing the pace of the pack with the constant exchange of who’s leading. There were several points throughout the race where I saw Serena leading the pack or being right next to the leader. Either way, she put in a great effort and it paid off with another state-qualifying run in a very competitive field.”

“I almost cried because there was just this whole another level of relief,” Moore said of her post-race reaction. “I was happy with my hard work. I cut off like a minute from last year.”

Chetek-Weyerhaueser’s Lana Blumer won the race by a comfortable margin in 19:36.8. Lawton finished second in 20:09.3 and barely edged Chetek-Weyerhaeuser’s Natalie Poppe by 0.4 seconds. Adomaitis was a close fourth in 20:10.5, while Shell Lake’s Brittany Clark was fifth at 20:12.7. Lasiowski got the last individual spot with a time of 20:40. Chetek-Weyerhaeuser (45 points) and Cameron (48) earned the team state berths over Phillips (58) and Chequamegon (70).

Moore said making a fourth straight state trip is rewarding because she did feel a lot of pressure coming into the year. She came into the summer and fall with a goal of attracting interest from collegiate running programs and, of course, there was much off-season discussion about whether a WIAA cross country season would even happen.

“There were just so many negative people saying we’re not going to have a season and stuff like that,” Moore said. “They did whatever they wanted. I stuck with my training. I kept fighting for my season. I knew I would get some type of season. I just knew it.”

The summer work paid off. Though the season didn’t feature as many meets as usual, it turned out to be a good one that included several times under 21 minutes and an individual win at the Stratford meet on Sept. 15. She said a lot of stress was lifted early in the season when she verbally committed to run for UWGreen Bay. If that’s where she indeed ends up, she’ll be Prentice’s first NCAA Division I athlete.

“I was super grateful,” Moore said of getting a fall season. “I prayed during each race. I was happy I got as many races as I could, even though my season got cut way short. It was still something to be happy for. It was definitely something to be happy for. When I think of COVID, I just like to laugh and say, ‘Ha I did it COVID. Take that.’” With one last race to run for the Hawks, she has one goal in mind.

“I’m looking to break 20 minutes, that’s all I want,” Moore said. “Possibly 19:30. I already did better than my seasons before, so that’s an accomplishment.”

“She was hoping to finish under 20 minutes (at the sectional), which has been her goal all season,” Sandoval said. “She has been getting pretty close over the last three races. As a coach, I’m happy to see that she’s peaking exactly when she needs to, which makes me excited for what she can do at state on Saturday.”

In Moore’s three previous state appearances, she was 28th in 20:42.12 in 2017, 29th in 20:22.6 in 2018 and 59th in 21:12.4 last year while not running at 100% health.

This Saturday’s state meet will look much different than state races Moore has competed in the past three years.

The location is the first obvious distance as it won’t be run in Wisconsin Rapids. To help promote social distancing, the WIAA split the locations of the meet by division. To further promote social distancing, each state meet is being broken down into three separate sessions. Moore will run in the second session at West Salem, which starts at 12:30 p.m. She won’t know where she’s finished until Saturday evening. Her session will feature the teams of Cameron, Chetek-Weyerhaeuser, Auburndale and Wisconsin Rapids Assumption as well as individual qualifiers Adomaitis, Lawton, Clark, Lasiowski, Kallie Volk of Three Lakes-Phelps, Abby Bartel of Weyauwega-Fremont, Julianna Thurs of Marathon, Kaela Groppel of Saint Mary Catholic and Sophia Bablitch of Rosholt.

Overall, junior Abby Bartel of Weyauwega- Fremont is back to defend the title she won last fall. She was 11th finish as a freshman in 2018. Sophomore Molly Heidorn of Colfax placed fifth last year, and junior Anelise Egge of Kickapoo/La Farge was sixth last year to improve on her eighth-place finish in 2018. Blumer placed eighth in 2019 and Poppe finished 15th. Junior Bridee Burks of Lancaster was 11th last year. Lasiowski finished 14th last season.

Boys results

In the sectional boys race, Sandoval said Granberg ran as well as he possibly could. It was just a case where the others in front of him did the same thing.

“I think Saturday turned out to be one of those days where Adam showed up and ran his best time yet, but it seems like several others were in the same boat and they happened to be in front of him,” Sandoval said. “In the sport of running, one of the drawbacks of this season was the limited travel and less races, so we didn’t get a chance to see how Adam’s growth would compare to the rest of the field.”

For the second straight race, Granberg was just behind Ethan Michek of Phillips, who finished in 18:03.7, just onetenth of a second behind Oswald.

Grantsburg had the top three finishers and cruised to the team championship with just 31 points. Will Gerber (16:34.3), Chase Doornink (16:53.5) and Brody Bongaarts (17:28.6) were those runners. Butternut’s Mike Brown was fourth overall and was the first individual state qualifier at 17:37.4. The other state qualifiers were Joseph Jensen of Chetek-Weyerhaeuser, who was fifth in 17:40.3; Noland Burchfield of Solon-Springs Northwood, who was sixth in 17:48.9, and Elijah Poppe of Chetek-Weyerhaeuser, who was eighth in 17:59.9.

“It was a big year for Adam as he was filling the role of being our fastest runner on the team,” Sandoval said. “He rose to the occasion as his times got progressively faster. He was obviously disappointed by missing the qualifier by a few seconds, however I think it’s a step closer for Adam to getting stronger, which makes us very optimistic for next year.”

Continued from page 32

Adam Granberg