Cross country teams return to state 

Both boys and girls teams are on their way to the state tournament for the first time since 2009.

Craig’s girls and boys teams finish second in the Stoughton Sectional. This is the first time since 2009 that both teams will complete at State. Girls team (left to right): Julianna Moran (10), Abigayl Anderson (10), Abi Austin (11), Kera Riley (12), Addison Fagan (10), Liza Burke (10), and Kaitlynn O’Leary (10) Boys team (left to right): Damien Soto (12), Jack Myre (11), Leo Burke (12), Matt McBride (12), Jack Austin (12), Tyler Hegel (10), Jose Gomez-Soto (12)

On Saturday, Oct. 23, Craig’s cross country team took second place in sectionals for both boys and girls at the Stoughton High School course.

These efforts qualified both teams for a trip to the 2022 WIAA state race at the Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids on Saturday, Oct. 29. 

Runners competing for the boys at state will be Jack Austin, Jose Gomez-Soto, Matthew McBride, Jack Myre, Damian Soto, Tyler Hegle, and Leo Burke. 

The girls team will be represented by Kera Riley, Abi Anderson, Addison Fagan, Abi Austin, Liza Burke, Julianna Moran, and Kaitlynn O’Leary.

The team will have their “Walk to State” during advisory on Wednesday, Oct 26. P

Spectators will have to pay a $9.00 fee for entry. In addition, there will be an opportunity to purchase merchandise and concessions at the meet.

The girls’ division 1 race begins at 1:20 P.M. while the boys’ division 1 race begins at 3:10 P.M. 

Following the races, rewards will be announced for the girls at 4:05 P.M. and the boys at 4:15 P.M. 

All results can be found online at and on the WIAA Website.

The Ridges Golf Course is a beautiful site to compete or spectate for a cross country race. 

The course itself will wind its way through the golf course. The route will have varying elevation levels for runners but look for a fast race with downhill stretches. 

Senior runner Jose Gomez Soto looks forward to the course. “I prefer courses with lots of elevation changes,” he said.

Sending both boys’ and girls’ teams to state for the first time since 2009 was no easy task. However, they made it to state by taking second for both boys and girls at the sectionals race

The boys’ team took second with a total of 82 points. They were runners-up to Oconomowoc who scored 25 points. 

The boys were led by Jack Austin who individually took 12th place with a time of 17:37.8. In addition, the other Craig boys’ times were: Jose Gomez-Soto 17:51.2, Matthew McBride 17:59.0, Jack Myre 18:02.0, Damian Soto 18:10.1, Tyler Hegle 18:14.4, and Leo Burke 19:41.7. 

The girls also ran to second place with a total of 79 points and finished second to Oconomowoc’s 66 points. 

The girls were led by Kera Riley who individually took 5th place with a time of 20:44.1. The other Craig girls’ times were: Abi Anderson 20:45.3, Addison Fagan 21:25.1, Abi Austin 22:05.7, and Liza Burke 23:18.7.

This will be the first time for all Craig athletes to race at the WIAA State competition. 

It is a new experience for many, including seniors that have watched past individual state qualifiers compete. 

Senior runner Damian Soto says that “It’s a dream come true, it has been a long four-year process culminating to state.” Fellow teammate Leo Burke also comments on state saying “It’s crazy, unbelievable.” Girls’ captain Kera Riley also knew this moment was on the horizon after she broke 20:00 at the Midwest Invitational on September 29, 2022.

The team aims to continue Craig Cross Country’s “tradition of excellence” by giving it their best effort for the year’s last race.

Coaches have been impressed with the state runners, and their racing effort of the head, heart, guts strategy. 

Coach Jessica Lawton said, “I feel fortunate to see the head, the heart, and the guts of these athletes throughout the season and am proud that they got to complete their season with their finest performances.”

In addition, coaches have been proud to see the great character, kindness, and energy the team has shown all season.

Coach Lawton reflecting on the season said “Watching this 2022 Sectional race was one of the most exciting races to have ever witnessed in Craig XC. The determination, passion, and tremendous grit that these athletes demonstrated on Saturday put them into the WIAA State meet. The boys’ team was not ranked at all during the season and were underdogs going into the race. The girls were ranked once all year… yet somehow these student-athletes believed in themselves and each other and outperformed expectations.”

The team looks for a strong finish to the year at the WIAA State Meet on October 29, 2022, at Wisconsin Rapids.