McGill & Callaghan Run at State! Lakeland Captures Boys’ Team State Championship Title!
The 104th WIAA State Cross Country Championships were held on Saturday, October 29th, at Ridges Golf Course, Wisconsin Rapids. Northland Pines had two individuals participate, junior Matt McGill and sophomore Annalise Callaghan, after both qualified as the fifth individual finisher in their respective races during last Saturday’s sectional meet in Waupaca. It was Callaghan’s first trip to the State meet, and McGill’s second after advancing last year as a member of Pines boys’ team who qualified for the first and only time in school history. Both individuals received huge support from teammates, family, and high school friends and faculty who made the drive to Wisconsin Rapids. In front of all their fans, Matt and Annalise didn't disappoint.
Under perfect fall running conditions, Callaghan made school history twice on Saturday. First, by addressing the start line, she became Pines first girl ever to qualify for WIAA State Cross Country meet. In addition, she proceeded to establish a new school record for 5000 meters by breaking her own mark in the biggest race of her young career. Poised and determined, Callaghan ran outstanding, finishing 35th overall while covering the 5000-meter course in 20:22.
Not to be outdone, McGill became the third Pines boy to qualify individually for the State meet in school history. He has been our most consistent boys’ runner all year and continued his steady racing on Saturday. McGill finished in the top half, 73rd overall, amongst the state’s best high school runners. He covered the 5000-meter course in 17:46. McGill’s experience at the State meet was definitely evident as he improved over 50 seconds and 50 places from last year’s race.
Pines Cross Country would like to acknowledge the incredible achievement of Lakeland High School’s boys’ team who captured the 2016 WIAA Division 2 State Cross Country Championship team title. In a very tight team competition, Lakeland came out on top scoring 105 points. They narrowly defeated: Valders (112), Wisconsin Lutheran (114), Monroe (117), and Dodgeville/Mineral Point (118). Only 13 points separated Lakeland from fifth-place in the boys’ team results. We compete against them at several meets each season and know them well. They are an outstanding team, and their accomplishment is well deserved – Congratulations Lakeland!
It’s always a challenge to run your best at the State meet as an individual qualifier. It’s a tough course, extremely competitive, and individual qualifiers run without the support of their teammates surrounding them for the first time all season under a pressure-packed atmosphere. But with many folks in attendance from the Eagle River community backing and encouraging Matt and Annalise, they both rose to the occasion and performed superbly. The last thing I told them before the start of the race was to enjoy the day because they earned it, and try not to do something different. Just run their races, do their best, and set the tone for the team for next season; McGill and Callaghan did just that. It was a terrific way to cap off the Pines Cross Country season that saw the boys’ team win three meets and finish second in the Great Northern Conference, while qualifying both McGill and Callaghan for State. With more hard work and dedication this off-season, everyone is already looking ahead to repeat performances by Matt and Annalise as well as improvements by both boys’ and girls’ teams for next year….