Rachael Reilly competes in State cross country meet in Wisconsin Rapids
Hatchet sophomore qualifies for championships for second time in two years
For the Tomahawk Leader
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – Hatchet sophomore Rachael Reilly traveled to Wisconsin Rapids on Saturday, Oct. 30 to participate at the 109th annual State Cross Country Championships in the D2 race, marking her second trip to State in as many years.
Reilly got off to a solid start, coming through the first 1600 meters at 6:19 in 58th place, her best first 1600 meter start of the year, with a large chase pack on the leaders. In the second mile, she worked hard to hang on with the chase pack. However, just after a long uphill stretch hill near the 3200 meter mark, they began to gap her.
“Rachael looked relaxed and focused in the early part of her race,” said head coach John Zuelsdorf. “We liked the position she was in and knew that she could potentially pick off quite a few runners down the stretch.
With her 13:27 3200 meter split, Reilly had dropped a few places to find herself in 69th place.
“On the downhills midrace, her knees were giving her a little grief, and although it didn’t show in her gait, it obviously affected her ability to make a solid move at that point in the race,” Zuelsdorf noted.
In the last 1600 meters on the most challenging part of the course, Reilly was able to finish strong and handle the final riser to the finish, passing a number of runners to place 64th overall in 21:10.
“We were particularly pleased with her finish down the last 400 meters on an uphill stretch,” Zuelsdorf stated. “She ran strong and confidently, passing runners and placing ahead of or near many of the top runners from her sectional from the previous week.”
Zuelsdorf said that although despite not reaching her goal of a top-50 finish, Reilly gained valuable experience in a quality field of over 150 of the best runners in the state.
The Medford girls, champions of the Great Northern Conference, placed 8th in the D2 girls’ race. The Rhinelander boys ran their best race of the year and finished 9th in the D2 race as the other GNC state-qualifying team.
“All in all, this was an awesome way for Rachael to conclude her season for the second year in a row at the State meet,” Zuelsdorf said. “She may not have hit her ultimate goals that she had set for herself, but she did gain some major experience. Knowing her, she will refocus and make every effort to have this opportunity again. She had an outstanding season, finishing as the top Hatchet harrier at all but one meet, and has the distinction of being the 4th-fastest Lady Hatchet harrier ever at 5K. Rachael also finished as a 1st Team All-Conference athlete for the second year in a row.”