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Schley 16th at state; Horvath gets another try next year

Schley 16th at state; Horvath gets another try next year Schley 16th at state; Horvath gets another try next year

The weirdest and most uncertain cross country season in the history of the sport in Wisconsin ended last week with the completion of the WIAA Division 2 State Cross Country Meet. Held in Colby on Oct. 31, Loyal-Greenwood runners Savannah Schley and Avrey Horvath competed in the Division 2 races, earning good places and times at the championships.

In her fourth and final run at the state meet, Schley placed 16th in the 114-runner field, which was divided up into separate heats to keep individual race numbers low. She completed the course in 20:07.30, which was just two minutes behind the individual state champion, junior Kaycii Martenson of Southwestern Co-op, who had ran an 18:09.29.

Although Schley had competed at the state meet before, this year she said was a different experience, with both new rules to meet COVID-19 guidelines and a new location in Colby.

“I’m excited even if it is a little different,” she said on the opportunity to get to compete at state. “A lot of other sports aren’t getting this opportunity. Wisconsin Rapids was not my best course, so I would like to think that Colby will be better, and Colby is a lot closer.”

Since this was her last season as a high school runner, it would have been easy for Schley to create a list of final accomplishments she wanted to do and to become frustrated with the new rules and changes that came with competing in sports during a pandemic. But she did none of those things, choosing instead to let things come as they may and appreciate the opportunities that did come her way.

“I tried not to think about it,” she said about the pandemic. “I thought, if it happens, it happens. I hoped we would be able to compete, but I didn’t want to focus on it.”

She applied the same line of thinking to her races this year, and to the race she ran at state. Though she worked hard throughout the summer and the season to improve her pacing, she said every day and every race is different, and all you can do is your best.

“I worked a lot over the summer and on running a 6:15 mile pace to see what that feels like,” she said. “But I don’t want to put a time on it. I want to run the best race that I can that day.” And Schley did, putting everything she had on that final course. While she is one of the area’s best runners, she said late season competition has always been an opportunity to see others who are just as good or better at the sport than she is, and she recommends others try the sport and see what they can accomplish.

“In the area, I am the top, but it is very humbling to compete,” she said. “I’m never going to be the best, so it is very humbling to be at these later meets and see what the others can do. I think people should try cross country, it’s not like anything else, it gives you a totally different mindset and teaches you about perseverance, it gives you strength.”

Horvath also competed at the state cross country championships, running there for the first time in his career. He competed in a 113-runner field, taking 60th overall with a time of 18:02.20. The first-place finisher of the Division 2 boys race was senior Leo Richardson of Edgewood, who ran a 15:47.05.

The chance to compete at the state meet came as a surprise for Horvath this year. While he had come very close to qualifying the year prior, he said he wasn’t sure at the start of the sectional race on whether or not he would qualify. It wasn’t until the last 200 meters of the race did he realize he had a chance.

“I felt kind of surprised, I didn’t think I was going to qualify this year,” he said. “(During the sectional race) I remember someone telling me that I was in the third individual place (to qualify for state), I realized then that I had a chance. I had to keep up the pace for the last 200 meters.”

With different heats for the races and a different course than the typical state meet, Horvath said he knows his experience at the state meet this year is not only different, but unique. It was something he wasn’t entirely prepared for, but he was grateful for the opportunity to participate.

“I’m just surprised I got to compete at all,” he said. “But state is going to be different this year, the experiences of last year are different than this year, they’re doing it in heats, so I’m not sure what to expect. Colby is flatter so I should have a better race than I would have had at Wisconsin Rapids.”

Even though he got an opportunity to run at state, Horvath said he is hoping for another chance next year, which will give him another opportunity to achieve his goal of breaking the 17-minute mark.

“I would like to get under 17 minutes, I got a 17:09 last year, I got so close,” he said. “I see myself qualifying in cross country and track again, but we will just have to wait and see.”



Loyal-Greenwood junior Avrey Horvath leads a pack of runners at the WIAA Division 2 state cross country meet held on Oct. 31 in Colby. Horvath ran the course in 18:02 to place 60th in the state field.