MHS boys cross country wins state

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The MHS boys cross country team captured the WIAA Division 1 state championship for the second time in three years on Saturday in Wisconsin Rapids.

The second-ranked Cardinals finished with 104 points to beat top-ranked Stevens Point by 12 points. Senior Braedon Gilles led the way with a 13th-place finish among team qualifiers. Other MHS runners to score were senior Egan Johnson (21st), sophmore Griffin Ward (22nd), senior Peter Hoferle (23rd) and senior Zach Leffel (25th).

"What a tenacious, reslilient group,'' MHS coach Brian Finnel told the Wisconsin State Journal. "We knew SPASH was going to be tough and La Follette had some top-tier runners. For us, we didn't feel like we had that upfront firepower like we've had with Gus (Newcomb) and Caleb (Easton). So, we had to be a pack and we had to own it.  ... They just bought in and believed in each other.''

The Cardinals won their first state title in 1992. They also won state in 2017 and finished second a year ago. MHS has made 12 appearances at state, including seven years in a row.

Sophomore Lauren Pansegrau finished second in Division 1 in the girls race to lead MHS to a fourth-place finish. It was the Cardinals' 14th trip to state and first since 2013, when they also took fourth.  MHS won three straight titles starting in 1995.