(WAOW) - Last fall, both the Wausau East and Edgar girls cross country teams claimed state championships. For the wildcats, it was a second straight title. Saturday in Wisconsin Rapids, they'll both try to do it again.
East returns 5 of their top 6 runners from 2009. That group includes a pair of stand-out juniors. Katelyn Stine took 3rd individually last year. Classmate Ashley Eckhoff has the 6th-fastest seeded time in Saturday's championship field. The lumberjacks are sticking to the plan that worked last year, leaving for the meet on Friday and spending a night together on the road. Stine says they've used this strategy the past two years and it helps with team-building and focus. Eckhoff recalled telling ghost stories when the hotel lost power last year, saying the experience brought them closer as a team and that carried over to the next day.
Despite being the 2-time defending state champs, the young ladies from Edgar find themselves a bit of an underdog on Saturday. Oshkosh Lourdes is considered the favorite. They finished well ahead of the wildcats, winning a meet in Rapids 3 weeks ago. Edgar senior Sara Rosewicz points to her team's experience on this course as one reason to expect another good race from the state's 5th-ranked team. Sophomore teammate Lizzie Pospyhalla adds that the younger runners have done a good job filling the void left by the departed seniors from last year.