Craig's Rylee Coleman runs Saturday, September 28, 2019, during the Midwest Invitational boys and girls cross country meet at Blackhawk Golf Course in Janesville.


Saturday had all the makings for PRs.

Temperatures hovered in the low 60s for the 82nd Annual Midwest Invitational at Blackhawk Golf Course. And organizers with Janesville Craig stuck with the looped course that led to blistering fast times last year, when washed-out bridges forced a change from the traditional route.

So what did area runners do to try and achieve a PR—a personal-record time?

Some picked out a fast runner and attempted to stay close. Others kept an eye on split times. One even sang a song in his head to keep his rhythm going—and The Foundations laid the foundation for a PR by more than 30 seconds.

Whitewater sophomore Cooper Hammond said he didn’t even think about times heading into the race, and that led him to a PR in 18:52.9.

“I’m just thinking about getting a good race in; it’s all based on feel, and if I PR, then I PR,” Hammond said. “I looked at this race from last year, and said, ‘I want to do this different, take the turns different and improve.

“This was a good course that was really flat, and it was beautiful weather.”

Janesville Craig sophomore Rylee Coleman has been no stranger to PRs this season. She competed in swimming last fall, but after a successful track and field season switched to cross country this fall.

Coleman was the Cougars’ No. 2 finisher Saturday and shaved more than 90 seconds off her previous best time.

“I just love the sport and love the people,” Coleman said. “It’s definitely different (than track). You have to learn how to run the race. There’s a technique to it, but once you figure it out, you’re good.

“You always want to think positive and do the best you can do. It’s good to set goals, but sometimes you can totally surprise yourself and get a minute better than your goal, so you just have to do the best you can and see.”

Janesville Parker junior Aidan Schuh went in doing his best to stay close to Craig junior Bryan Bloomquist, a state medalist.

In a sign of the mental hurdles runners face, Schuh set a new PR in 17:27.6 but afterward said he wished he could have done better.

“It wasn’t as good as I wanted; I wanted to be in the 16s, but I’m kind of sick right now,” Schuh said. “This is one of the fastest courses we’ll see all year, so I was really hoping to have a lower time, but I still think I did OK.

“Usually my goal is to keep up with Bryan, but it just got so packed and I couldn’t move up and make moves.”

Whitewater junior Will Hofmann used a unique approach to achieve his PR of 19:24.4.

“I wanted to be 20 seconds faster than my last race, and I was 34 seconds faster,” he said. “I usually just think of a song that I’m going to sing during the race, and I sing it over and over in my head with my footsteps, and it just helps me stay on time.”

Hofmann’s song of choice Saturday?

“Build Me Up Buttercup.”