Craig out to break quarter-century streak
Craig High has had one of the conference’s premier programs, but have only a number of second-place finishes to show for it.
Is this the year the Cougar boys return to the top?
They’ll find out Saturday at the Big Eight Conference boys and girls meet at Verona High School. The girls varsity race is at 11:30 a.m., and the boys run at noon.
The Cougar boys are one of five Big Eight teams that have received votes in the Division 1 state coaches poll, and are currently ranked eighth in the state. Madison La Follette is ranked fifth, marking the first time this season that the Lancers have been ranked ahead of the Cougars.
“As good as our boys teams have been over the years, it’s really surprising that we haven’t won a Big Eight title since the mid 80s,” Craig co-head coach Brian Lawton said. “But if we’re going to do it, hopefully this is the year.
“It’s going to be tough because Memorial, La Follette, West and Verona have all been ranked at one time. But we’ve had a strong season, and I hope it continues on Saturday.”
Madison West is the defending boys champion, but the Regents have not beaten the Cougars this season.
Craig will be led by sophomore Tommy Meister, who finished 11th a year ago. Also running for the Cougars will be seniors Matt Bordwell and Eric Gudgeon, sophomore Joe Sarow, junior Ryan Fenrick, and freshmen Spencer Hrycay and Hunter Salmon.
Janesville Parker’s boys, who were ninth last year, will be led by junior Taran Kobs.
Craig’s girls are the defending conference champions, but will be hard-pressed to repeat with the emergence of a young and talented West team. The Cougars, who were third at state last year, have stayed with the Regents in a number of meets this season but have not beaten them.
“Our girls have shown improvement every race this season, and that’s the most important thing,” Lawton said. “West is awfully good, but we’ve closed the gap the last couple of times we’ve ran against them.”
Sun Prairie’s Liz Berkholtz is the defending girls champion, while the Cougars have three runners returning who were in the top 10 last season. Junior Rachel Gilmore was fifth a year ago, senior Megan Muhs finished seventh and sophomore Stephanie Perleberg finished ninth. Senior Regina Griffith, sophomores Jessie Finnane and Katie Bagley, along with freshman Teryn Bordwell will also run for Craig.
The Parker girls, who were sixth a year ago, will be led by Sadie Johnson and Brooke King, who was 12th last year.