Hatchets? Whiting improves at state cross meet
Another excellent season with a runner-up finish at sectional led to a WIAA state cross country berth for THS junior Dani Whiting.
But she came up short of her personal benchmark in that final event on the difficult course at Wisconsin Rapids’ Ridges G.C. – due to respiratory issues – and settled for a 35th-place finish in 20:06.
“Our pre-race plan was working to perfection early on and she was in the top-ten position that we had wanted her in by the 1600 meter mark, right around that six-minute pace,” THS coach John Zuelsdorf said. “However, shortly after that her stride shortened as she was having trouble with her breathing. I could tell at 2000 meters that something was up, as things didn’t look right and she was at the tail end of the lead pack and laboring.
“She did her best to maintain pace and finish, but it was a certainly a challenge for the last half of the race for her.”
Whiting lost contact with the lead group in the late-middle of the 102nd running of the state race.
“In the second mile, she worked hard to hang on to the chase pack, however near the 3200 meter mark they began to gap her,” Zuelsdorf said. “With her 12:34 3200-meter split she was holding onto a top 25 finish.
“However, in the last 1600 meters on the most challenging part of the course, she dropped another ten places to finish 35th overall.
“Despite not reaching her goal of a top 20 finish, she improved her overall finish from her first appearance last year at Rapids considerably.”
When the disappointment fades, Whiting can look back on a superb season and forward to another opportunity in her senior year.
“All in all, this was an awesome way for Dani to end her season for the second year in a row at the state meet,” Zuelsdorf said. “She may not have hit her ultimate goals that she had set for herself, but she did improve on her initial appearance and with another year of experience under her belt she will refocus and make every effort to have this opportunity again.
“She had an outstanding season finishing as the 4th-fastest girlever at 4K and now holding the 5K school record at 19:20.
“Pre-state, she had competed against 898 athletes and had defeated all but 8 of them (all but 1 were D1 athletes). She was also the sectional runner-up and finished as a First Team All-Conference athlete for the second year in a row.”