Midwest Invitational features top runners
The interstate cross country meet is believed to the oldest in the United States, attracting teams from four states this year.
The Midwest Invitational began in 1931 under the direction of legendary Pat Dawson—the former Janesville High School athletic director and coach. The event was not held during 1942-1948 because of World War II, making this year’s race the 73rd. Girls began competing in the event in 1979.
This year’s prestigious event is scheduled for Saturday morning at Blackhawk Golf Course in Janesville. The boys varsity 5,000-meter race is slated for 10:25, followed by the girls varsity 4,000-meter race at 11.
Nearly 2,500 runners from 40 high schools are expected to compete, along with 400 middle-school runners.
Madison West is the defending girls champion and is ranked fourth this season. The Regents will have a tough time repeating with top-ranked Neenah and second-ranked Hartland Arrowhead also in the field. Lake Park (Ill.) is also entered in the girls field after winning three of the last four Midwest titles and nine overall.
Janesville Craig finished third last year and return six of seven varsity runners.
West is the state’s top-ranked Division 1 boys team but will face stiff competition from a talented field. Lake Park, Ill., is the defending boys champion, and is joined by four of Wisconsin’s top-five ranked teams in West, Milwaukee Marquette (2), Arrowhead (3) and Craig (5).
Craig’s Tommy Meister will be one of the favorites in the boys race. The Cougar junior is unbeaten this season and has the state’s fastest time in 15:37. Meister finished seventh last season (16:11.81) and led the Cougars to a second-place finish.
Just the facts
What: 73rd Midwest Invitational cross country meet.
Where: Blackhawk Golf Course, Janesville
When: Saturday (Freshman-sophomore boys, 9:15 a.m.; Freshman-sophomore girls, 9:50; Varsity boys, 10:25; Varsity girls, 11:00; Junior varsity boys, 11:35; Junior varsity girls, 12:10 p.m.; Middle school, 12:40; Awards ceremony, 12:55).
The field: Albany, Beaver Dam, Beloit Memorial, DeForest, Delavan-Darien, Dodgeville/Mineral Point, Dubuque Sr. (Iowa), Elkhorn, Fond du Lac, Fort Atkinson, Hartland Arrowhead, Houston MacArthur (Texas), Janesville Craig, Janesville Parker, La Crosse Logan, Lake Park (Ill.), Madison La Follette, Madison Memorial, Madison West, Mequon Homestead, Middleton, Milton, Milwaukee Marquette, Monona Grove, Monroe, Mount Horeb/Barneveld, Mukwonago, Neenah, Oregon, Platteville, Rockford Guilford (Ill.), Stoughton, Sun Prairie, University Lake School, Verona, Waukesha Catholic Memorial, Waunakee, Whitewater, Whitnall, Wisconsin Lutheran.
Defending varsity champions: Lake Park, Ill., boys; Madison West girls.