Janesville Craig’s girls cross country runners have already put together storied careers.
They’ve ran at the WIAA state tournament each of the past two seasons, including finishing fourth their sophomore year.
The Cougars have their sights set on adding to their career resumes.
“We’re a very experienced team. Our senior class is our largest class on the team, which is a huge rarity in high school sports,” Craig coach Brandon Miles said. “We have some big goals and big expectations from that veteran-laden team.”
The roster includes seven seniors, most of whom have played roles at different times while returning Craig to being an annual state contender.
The captains are Maddy Arrowood and Cecilia Harold. Lauren Shanks and Ellie Lorenz have been mainstays in the lineup. Ivy White was hampered by illness and injury a bit last year, but was particularly impressive early in her career and is now healthy once again. And Gabby Petruzzello and Gracie Finn round out the senior class.
Clare Hulick is coming off qualifying for state in track and field. The junior is recovering from a stress fracture, Miles said, but should be back in the lineup in the next month or so. Hulick was Craig’s top individual finisher at state cross country last year, taking 21st.
Juniors Emily Austin and Cambria Thompson were counting members of that state team and return for the Cougars.
And Rylee Coleman, a sophomore who had a solid track season, joins the mix, as well.
“We’re really deep,” Miles said. “We’re going to do our best to compete for a conference championship. We have as good a shot as anybody to compete for a conference and sectional title. And then see how high we can finish at state, hopefully improve on eighth place last year.”
Parker girls look for replacements at top
Janesville Parker’s girls team must replace its top two runners—Brooke Graesslin and Catie Gage—from a year ago, when the Vikings finished sixth in the Big Eight.
Lexie Schroeder, now a senior, is the team’s top returning finisher from sectionals last year, when she finished 50th.
Senior Rachel Howell and junior Brooke Schroeder are the only other returning runners with varsity experience.
“We will work to rebuild our team and program,” Parker girls coach Mark Little said.
Bloomquist paces Craig boys squad
Craig junior Bryan Bloomquist has been the fastest runner in his class at the state cross country meet, and he finished 10th among all Division 1 boys there last year.
“He’ll have a lot of competition to try and be the fastest junior in the state, because there’s a lot of good runners out there,” Miles said. “But we think he can be a medalist again this year.
“He’s leading a team that is kind of the flip side of the girls. We’re very young, and we’re going to focus on growth and improvement.”
Craig have five senior runners at last year’s sectional meet.
Matt Dillon is a captain and one of three seniors in the program.
Junior Gabe Coleman joins Bloomquist in a strong junior class, which includes Carson Dooman, the other team captain.
Miles said there are multiple sophomores who could take a step forward and a large freshman class is out for the program, including a couple that could make a varsity impact in their first year.
Hartwig takes over Parker boys program
Paul Hartwig, a 1998 Craig graduate who ran cross country for the Cougars, is Parker’s new boys coach after working three years as an assistant.
Junior Aidan Schuh and sophomore Logan Risseeuw are the lone returning varsity runners for the Vikings.
“I look for those two to be very competitive in each and every meet by the end of the year,” Hartwig said. “We’re still a very young team, so we’re treating this more as a rebuilding year.”
Gazette reporter John Barry contributed to this story.