Raccoons go distance, make statement

Zach Vance and the Oconomowoc boys cross country team are enjoying another banner season.

 

STEVENS POINT — Oconomowoc made its longest journey of the 2022 boys cross country season Saturday.

And when the Raccoons reached their destination, they put in some serious distance running.

Ocon senior Zach Vance posted a first-place finish of 15 minutes, 35 seconds, while senior teammate Hayden Triebold logged a third-place time of 15 minutes, 41.2 seconds to lead their team to a second-place finish in the SPASH Invitational at Standing Rock Park.


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The host team from Stevens Point won the meet with 42 points and Oconomowoc totaled 52, while Appleton North finished a distant third in the 16-team event with 109 points.

“It was a perfect day for racing with 60-degree weather and slight rain all morning,” Oconomowoc coach Joel Heroux said. “The Ocon runners took advantage of the opportunity to race hard against some different competitors and a really nice course.

“We finished second to a really strong SPASH team. It’s early in the season, but it’s a good sign that we were competitive with a team that has such a strong tradition of success. We know we need to keep working hard in practice and get better each day with lots of racing yet to do this fall.”

Vance and Triebold continued to perform on a level with the state’s premier runners.

They were separated only by Sun Prairie West senior Mateo Alvarado Venegas, the runner-up.

“Zach and Hayden asserted themselves at the front of the race and applied pressure to the pace,” Heroux said. “Zach closed really strongly in the last mile to get a win and set a course record while Hayden was just behind in third.”

Junior Bryce Faith claimed third among the Raccoons and 10th overall in 16:44.6, while sophomore teammate James Lennington placed fourth on the team and 17th overall in 17:19.9.

Heroux was impressed with their progress against such a competitive field. “Bryce Faith set a huge personal record as our third runner and really is establishing himself,” the coach said. “He took a chance early in the race to be in a good position, which really paid off as he finished 10th overall.

“James Lennington ran a 40-second personal best with a very strong race. This is his first year with our program, and he has made such a positive impression with his attitude and work ethic.”

Oconomowoc juniors Andrew Vizcarra and James Belus also cracked the meet’s top 25 finishers. Vizcarra placed 22nd in 17:37.2, while Belus came in 24th in 17:46.1.

“Andrew Vizcarra finished as our fifth runner after a really nice race and a big improvement from his first race,” Heroux said.

Sophomore Isaac White completed the Raccoons’ varsity lineup, placing 41st in 18:30.2.

Oconomowoc has a bye this week before returning to action by competing in the Midwest Invitational at Janesville’s Blackhawk Golf Course at 9 a.m. Sept. 24.

“We know we need to keep working hard in practice and get better each day with lots of racing yet to do this fall,” Heroux said. “Midwest will be another really good test for our team as a midseason checkpoint.

“The team is excited with early season results, but there is a lot of work to do.”

“We finished second to a really strong SPASH team. It’s early in the season, but it’s a good sign that we were competitive with a team that has such a strong tradition of success.”

 SPASH Invitational (at Standing Rock Park) Team Scores

1. Stevens Point 42

2. Oconomowoc 52

3. Appleton North 109

4. Pacelli 117

5. Sun Prairie West 141

6. Wausau East 191

7. Wisconsin Rapids 204

8. Iola-Scandinavia 229

9. Wausau West 234

10. Auburndale 260

11. Rosholt 278

12. D. C. Everest 330

13. Assumption 373

14. Edgar 382 Marshfield inc. Merrill inc.