Meister leads Janesville Craig boys’ state title hopes

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Gazette staff
Thursday, August 25, 2011
— Janesville Craig’s cross country program and the WIAA state meet go hand in hand.

The Craig High Cougar boys have made six straight trips to the state meet in Wisconsin Rapids, while the Cougars girls have advanced to state nine of the last 10 years.

Don’t look for things to change in 2011.

Craig begins the season this afternoon as both teams compete at the Milton Rock Run.

Led by senior Tommy Meister, the Cougar boys could make a run at a state title. Craig was second in the Big Eight Conference last season and ninth in the state in Division 1, and with a wealth of talent returning, is a definite threat to defending state champion Hartland Arrowhead. Six of Craig’s seven state competitors return.

“We’ve established a real positive culture for our program, and both the boys and girls feed off of that and want to be a part of it,” Craig co-head coach Brian Lawton said. “That makes our job a lot easier because the kids want to put the work in and want that chance to run at state.

“I’m not ready to talk about winning a state title, especially since Arrowhead has got everybody back from their state team, but I know Tommy and the rest of his teammates have set high goals.”

Meister was second at the state cross country meet last year and won the 800-meter run at the state track and field meet. He is being heavily recruited by a number of major Division I schools, including Duke, Providence and Wisconsin.

“Tommy’s really taken on a leadership role,” Brian Lawton said. “He knows this is it for him, and he wants to go out on top.”

Meister is one of three captains, along with senior Jon Pospeschil and junior Spencer Hrycay.

Junior Hunter Salmon and senior Joe Sarow also return with a vast amount of varsity experience, along with junior Eric Paulous and sophomore Evan Lalor.

Senior Peter Carlson, junior Derek Arrowood and sophomore Alec McCann also are in the mix for one of the final varsity spots.

The Cougar girls are out to redeem themselves after a disappointing 2010 season. For the first time in 10 years, the team failed to qualify for state and was fifth in the Big Eight—the lowest finish in school history.

“These girls worked really hard in the off-season, some of them logging more than 200 miles running this summer,” co-head coach Jessica Lawton said. “This is a new season, and I really think they’re driven to succeed. Not making it to state last year was big deal for those that are coming back.”

Seniors Katie Bagley, Danica Reinicke, Michaela Holzhuter and Stephanie Perleberg return, and all have run at state at some point in their careers. Juniors Teryn Bordwell and Brittney Fry are also back, giving the team six strong runners that should push each other, according to both coaches.

“Everything is on track for both teams right now,” Brian Lawton said. “We’re excited to start the season and watch these kids perform.”

Craig’s schedule:

AUGUST: 25—Milton Rock Run, 4 p.m.

SEPTEMBER: 3—Verona Invitational, 9 a.m.; 8—Arrowhead Invitational, 4:15 p.m.; 13—At Big 8 Grade Level Challenge (Warner Park), 4:30 p.m.; 24—Midwest Invitational (Blackhawk), 9 a.m.; 27—Five-Team Challenge, at Sun Prairie (Sheehan Park), 5 p.m.

OCTOBER: 1—Racine Case Invitational, TBA; 15—Big Eight meet , at Madison (Yahara), 9 a.m; 22—WIAA sectional, at Madison (Yahara),

8 a.m.

Last updated: 6:02 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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