Engh leads boy to fourth at cross country sectional

Despite a strong showing, the Sparta boys cross country team fell short of a trip to the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association state meet.
The Spartans finished fourth at Saturday’s WIAA Division 2 sectional in Black River Falls, coming up just two places shy of a state berth.
It marked the second straight season the Spartans came close.
Last year, Sparta fell just one point shy of advancing to state after being told it had finished second.
This year, Sparta finished further back, but head coach Jean Roddick said her team finished well ahead of where they were predicted to come in.
“As a team, it wasn’t our best race of the season,” she offered.
“We had a couple of boys that ran really well and improved their times on the course, but our team score only landed us a fourth-place finish,” continued Roddick. “Considering the rankings only had us finishing ninth in this meet, I feel it was a successful day for us.”
Junior Max Engh led the way for the Sparta boy harriers, turning in a time of 17:48.71 to finish 13th in the 102-runner field.
Juniors Sam Forbes and Caleb Pokorny also ran well for Sparta, finishing in 23rd and 25th place, respectively.
Forbes finished the 5,000-meter course at Skyline Golf Course in 18:09.14, while Pokorny turned in a time of 18:10,54 for the Spartans.
Freshman Nick Strichko and junior Kole Nelson came in 36th and 37th, respectively, for the Spartans with times of 18:31.27 and 18:31.63 to round out Sparta’s top five scorers.
Senior Trygve Zurfluh added a 44th-place finish in 18:43.67, while junior Christian Lamon finished in 52nd place with a time of 18:54.70.
Viroqua won the boys sectional race with a team score of 78 points, while Mauston captured second place with 112 team tallies.
As the top two teams in the sectional, Viroqua and Mauston advance to Saturday’s WIAA Division 2 State Cross Country Championships, which will be held at The Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids.
Third place went to Nekoosa-Port Edwards with 132 points, followed by Sparta in fourth with 134, Colby-Abbottsford in fifth with 154, host Black River Falls and Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau tie for sixth with 156 apiece, West Salem in eighth with 163, Wautoma-Wild Rose in ninth with 177, Altoona in 10th with 187, Westfield Area in 11th with 244, Ellsworth in 12th with 316, Adams-Friendship in 13th with 390 and Wisconsin Dells with 396 points in 14th place.

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