(Photo Credit - Jodi Griepentrog)

By Paul Lecker
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – The Auburndale girls cross country program has built up into a force on the state level.

The Apaches proved it Saturday, placing second in the Division 3 team standings at the 2018 WIAA State Cross Country Championships at the Ridges Golf Course.

Auburndale was making its fourth-straight state appearance and continued its trend of improving each year.

The Apaches placed 13th in 2015, ninth in 2016, and fourth last year, before this season’s runner-up finish.

Among the runners on qualifying teams, Isabella Jewell placed ninth (20:20.0) and McKenna Zieher was 10th (20:21.4) to lead Auburndale. The Apaches finished with 91 points, 17 behind Lancaster, which was last year’s runner-up. Dodgeland took third with 147 points.

Erricka Zenner finished 16th (20:44.9), Macie Schmeiser was 27th (21:04.7), and Jordyn Karl took 29th (21:06.3) to round out the scoring runners for Auburndale. In addition, Vanessa Mitchell was 31st (21:19.4) and Lily Kloos took 51st (22:06.1). Only Jewell, who was 26th overall in the race, is a senior among Auburndale’s seven state runners.

Edgar’s Marissa Ellenbecker repeated as the Division 3 individual state champion, winning the race in 19:06.4, 6.1 seconds ahead of Dodgeland’s Meygan Benzing. Loyal/Greenwood’s Savannah Schley finished 15th in 19:57.7.