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WIAA D1 CC wilson & olin hacker.jpg

Madison West's Wilson Hacker, left, and brother Olin compete at the WIAA Division 1 state cross country meet.

WISCONSIN RAPIDS —  When Evan Kohl opted to join the Madison West boys cross country team last spring he didn’t know what to expect.

What he got was the experience of a lifetime.

The Regents held off Big Eight Conference and city rival Madison La Follette to win their first state championship since 2004 at the WIAA Division 1 boys state cross country meet Saturday afternoon at The Ridges Golf Course.

“I can’t believe it, especially because I never even considered doing cross (country) until midway through track season last year,” said Kohl, a senior whom coach Tom Kaufman said hadn’t run a distance greater than 400 meters prior to this season.

It was a fitting end to an impressive year for Kohl and fellow seniors Wilson Hacker and Jeff Sereno, who along with sophomores Olin Hacker and Kyle Kolar finished first with 80 points.

“It’s a beautiful day. We were working together. We both pushed each other to a good time,” said Wilson Hacker, who finished 16th overall, two places behind his brother Olin, who paced the Regents.

Madison La Follette was second with 108 points, recording its best finish since winning titles in 2006 and 2007.

“I’ve been coming to these meets since I could walk,” added Wilson Hacker, whose father, Tim, is a two-time individual state champion, and whose older brother, Sam, ran on the Regents’ 2008 state runner-up team. “It means so much to me to be part of this on this great day.”

It was the first time schools from the same city finished 1-2 in Division 1 since 1970 when Milwaukee Marshall and Milwaukee Boys Tech accomplished the feat.

“It (stinks) to come here and get second. We were going for first. But bringing home a trophy shows what kind of a team we are,” said La Follette senior Chandler Diffee, the defending individual champion who finished fifth. “We came out here to bring something home and we did so I’m proud of that.”

The Big Eight also got a seventh-place finish from Janesville Craig, which was led by senior Spencer Hrycay (18th).

But Diffee admitted taking second to Madison West was bittersweet.

“They’re our rival. I wouldn’t say it’s a Packers-Bears thing,” he said. “But for West to do it, it’s awesome for them. At least it was a Madison team winning it.”

Hudson senior Ryan Kromer won the individual race, covering the 5,000-meter course in 15 minutes, 27.17 seconds. Verona sophomore Ryan Nameth was third in 15:37.62, just behind runner-up McKena Ramos of Sheboygan South (15:37.42).

“I was in the back of the lead pack the entire race,” said Nameth, who was making his state meet debut. “I stayed behind Chandler (Diffee) and it started to spread out and I said, ‘I’m ready to go for it.’ ”

For details from all divisions at the meet, visit our live blog.


Team scores: Madison West 80, Madison La Follette 108, Stevens Point 120, Hartland Arrowhead 131, Waukesha South 174, la Crosse Logan 209, Janesville Craig 209, Milwaukee Marquette 229, West Bend West 244, Eau Claire memorial 287, West Allis Nathan Hale 290, Kimberly 303, Westosha Central 308, Oshkosh West 336, Baraboo 336, Wausau East 350, Sheboygan North 387, Waukesha North 406, Franklin 407, Green Bay East 426.

Top 15 individuals: 1, Kromer, Hudson, 15:27; 2, Ramos, Sheboygan South, 15:37; 3, Nameth, Verona, 15:37; 4, Campbell, Wauwautosa West, 15:39; 5, Diffee, ML, 15:44; 6, Torres, GBE, 15:44; 7, Gomoll, Whitefish Bay, 15:45; 8, Miller, WBW, 15:53; 9, Johnson, Brookfield East, 15:54; 10, Woodford, WS, 15:56; 11, Floydmews, Wauwautosa West, 15:58; 12, Laluzerne, Green Bay Preble, 15:58; 13, Larson, SP, 15:59; 14, O. Hacker, MW, 16:02; 15, Dubnicka, HA, 16:00.

Team champion/runner-up

Madison West — 6, O. Hacker, 15:58; 8, W. Hacker 16:02; 11, Sereno 16:11; 15, Kohl 16:17; 40, Kolar 16:48. Madison La Follette — 1, Diffee15:44; 19, Weum, 16:25; 22, Wehrli 16:30; 29, Polania 16:36; 37, Aguirre 16:46.

Area team scoring

Janesville Craig — 10, Hrycay 16:07; 14, Lalor 16:15; 16, Salmon 16:21; 78, McCann 17:19; 91, Gilmore 17:27. Baraboo — 46, Trotter 16:51; 57, Sokolowski 17:04; 73, Rausch 17:15; 77, Fiebig 17:18; 83, Henry 17:21.

Area individuals (Overall finish)

Fort Atkinson: 68, Bender 16:48. Janesville Parker: 90, Tyler 17:01. Monona Grove: 48, McMillan 16:35. Verona: 3, Nameth 15:37. Watertown: 23, Gifford 16:13; 109, Magnan 17:11. Waunakee: 77, Stramsta 16:51. 5,000 meters.