The Rockport Park course proved difficult to tame Saturday at the Big Eight Conference boys and girls cross country meet.
With two lengthy hills to climb and some unsure footing along the 5,000-meter course, times were slower, as expected.
The challenging course didn’t seem to bother the Middleton boys and girls teams, though.
The Cardinals had four boys and three girls finish in the top 10 in sweeping both team titles.
Middleton finished with 46 points to edge Madison La Follette (50) in the boys team race. Madison West, behind race winner Julian Gary, was third and Janesville Craig and Janesville Parker finished eighth and ninth, respectively.
Lauren Pansegrau won the girls 5,000-meter race to lead Middleton to the title. Janesville Craig was fifth, with Janesville Parker posting an incomplete score.
Craig’s Bryan Bloomquist was the top city finisher. The junior finished fifth in the boys race.
Pansegrau cruised to her win. The sophomore finished in 18:04.6.
She said the course was challenging but fair.
“It was a fun course to run because we don’t run on many like this during the season,” Pansegrau said. “There were a few hard hills, but i liked that.”
Pansegrau pulled away late for the win and was more concerned with her place and not her time.
“I felt like we could go a little faster when we were running in the woods, so I picked up the pace a little bit,” she said. “I wasn’t worried about my time, I just wanted to place well.”
Genevieve Nashold was second in 18:14.9 and Kate Kopotic of Sun Prairie was third in 19:14.7.
Ellie Lorenz finished 18th to lead the Craig girls to a fifth-place finish.
Gary broke the 16-minute mark in winning by 12 seconds over Chris Wolfe of La Follette. Peter Hoferle of Middleton was third, Karl Olson of La Follette fourth and Bloomquist fifth.
Bloomquist tweaked an already tender left ankle during the race but gutted it out on what was a treacherous terrain at times to gain a top-five finish for the second straight year.
“I stepped on a rock early on and re-injured the ankle, but it wasn’t going to keep me from completing the race,” Bloomquist said. “Chris (Wolfe) and I started out strong and set the pace, but then I looked up, and Chris and Gary really took off.
“This is probably the hardest course I’ve ever run on,” Bloomquist said. “There are two massive hills, and it really turns into more of a mental race than a PR-type thing because you’re not going to get a PR on this course.”
Craig and Parker compete in the Division 1 Kettle Moraine Sectional next Saturday.
Big Eight Conference Meet
At Rockport Park
BOYS TEAM SCORES
Middleton 46, Madison La Follette 50, Madison West 58, Madison Memorial 117, Sun Prairie 123, Madison East 171, Janesville Craig 191, Janesville Parker 257, Beloit Memorial 308
1. Julian Gary (MW) 15:59.7; 2. Chris Wolfe (ML) 16:11.3; 3. Peter Hoferle (Mid) 16:17.3; 4. Karl Olson (ML) 16:20.6; 5. Bryan Bloomquist (JC) 16:28.3
OTHER CITY TOP 50 FINISHERS
Parker—38. Aidan Schuh 17:42.9
Craig—44. Matt Dillon 17:57.6; 45. Kadin Wojcik 18:01.8; 48. Cole Riley 18:43.1; 49. Cody O’Connell 18:47.4
GIRLS TEAM SCORES
Middleton 41, Madison West 44, Sun Prairie 60, Madison Memorial 99, Janesville Craig 119, Verona 145, Madison La Follette 219, Madison East 237, Janesville Parker and Beloit Memorial incomplete
1. Lauren Pansegrau (Mid) 18:04.6; 2. Genevieve Nashold (MW) 18:14.9; 3. Kate Kopotic (SP) 19:14.7; 4. Kristina Rohrer (MW) 19:27.0; 5. Cecily Greblo (MW) 19:28.1
CITY TOP 50 FINISHERS
Craig—18. Ellie Lorenz 20:37.2; 20. Madalyn Arrowood 20:41.1; 24. Clare Hulick (JC) 20:49.7; 27. Ivy White 21:00.5 30. Rylee Coleman (JC0 21:05.3
Parker—52. Brooke Schroeder 23:04.8