With spectators looking on, Whippet runner Allisan Barrett qualified for State this Saturday in Wisconsin Rapids after her performance at the Deerfield Sectional last Saturday. (Bob Mischka photo)


By Troy Sparks


Allisan Barrett had one last shot to qualify for the state cross-country championships for the third year in a row.

The senior went all-out at the WIAA Division 2 Deerfield Sectional last Saturday at Cam-Rock Park in Cambridge.

Barrett finished third overall in the girls 5,000-meter race in 19 minutes, 8.58 seconds. It was her best time ever. The top two teams and first five individuals who were not part of a qualifying team advanced to the state meet Saturday in Wisconsin Rapids.

It was a miraculous feat for Barrett, especially after the week she had leading up to the race. She battled back pain and a chest cold, which temporarily shut her training down.

“It started (last) Monday,” Barrett said. “Monday and Tuesday were probably the worst days. Wednesday, I didn’t really run. Thursday, I took off (from school) because I got sick, so I stayed home and just slept. Friday, I just ran 10 minutes.”

Early last week, Barrett said on a scale from 1 to 10 her back pain was at a 7 or 8 and she could hardly walk. During the race, Barrett said her pain tolerance in her lower back was at about a 4 or 5.

About halfway through the race, Barrett was in third place behind her Jefferson rival, junior Mariah Linse, by a step. With less than a mile to go, Barrett made a bold move and passed Linse.

“I told myself it was now or never,” Barrett said. “(Linse) has another opportunity to race. I don’t. This is my last time to race (in the) sectionals. (I have to) make it happen now. I just put in a little kick and when the Big Foot girl passed me, I’m like, ‘You have to stick with her.’”

Whitewater coach Chad Carstens applauded the fact that Barrett took that risk and it paid off.

“That was huge because I don’t think that Allie has beaten Mariah on this level before,” he said. “So for her to make that decision was just paramount. And I’m so proud of her to have made that decision in the moment when you’re in mid-stride to say, ‘You know what? I’m going to go for it.’ That’s pretty magical stuff.”

Making state for the third year in a row is the icing on the cake for Barrett. She was 31st overall in 2015 in 20:18.69 and on a qualifying team that finished seventh that year at the state meet. Last year, she was 23rd overall with a time of 20:05.31.

“I have a goal (at State), which is to be in the top 15,” she said. “But you know what? Who cares (where I finish)?”

The returning runners will have to step up their offseason training to get to the next level.

“Just like many Whippets before them, they are going to have to just train their guts out,” Carstens said. “They are going to have to want it. They are going to have to make it a lifestyle to become a strong runner. That’s what it’s going to take. If individuals are willing to do that, then everything else will be taken care of.”

Junior Nicole Tomomitsu was 47th overall (21:58.75), sophomore Hailey Prager was 50th (22:11.06), freshman Crystal Chan was 57th (22:25.79) and freshman Bailee Korf (24:14.57) was 87th to complete the team scoring. Senior Alayna Mikulski finished 98th (28:28.47) and sophomore Rosie Aschenbrener (31:31.91) was the last girl to finish the race. The girls team finished 10th with 239 points.

The top five Whitewater runners on the boys team finished under 19 minutes. Freshman Trenten Zahn led the Whippets by finishing 13th overall in 17:14.08. Seniors Jacob Korf and Jon Brunner were 15th and 24th, respectively (17:18.17, 17:42.26). Sophomore Aidan Coburn was 27th (17:58.66) and junior Nick Kuzoff finished 52nd (18:41.26). Junior Jon Zheng was 63rd (19:15.88) and sophomore Jack Mayer (20:44.70) was 84th overall. The Whippets placed fifth in team scoring with 131 points.




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