Brett Harms returns to state cross country podium
WISCONSIN RAPIDS—Brett Harms took one last look around the finish line area at the Ridges Golf Course early Saturday afternoon and broke into a huge grin.
The Whitewater senior distance runner had just completed his fourth and final individual appearance at the WIAA Division 2 boys state cross country meet, and while it didn't meet all of his expectations, he had no regrets.
“I would have liked to have finished a little higher up,” said Harms, who duplicated his fifth-place finish of a year ago, covering the 5,000-meter course in 16 minutes, 14.27 seconds. “But just getting to the podium again is something I couldn't have dreamed I'd do.”
Last season, Harms became the Whippets' first medalist since Ben Maas won the Division 2 individual title in 1995.
A three-time sectional champion, Harms hoped to contend for the individual title his senior year.
But Monroe senior Ethan Moehn pulled away from the field to cruise to his first individual state championship in 15:58.93. Shorewood's Charlie Stahl was a distant second in 16:07.87. Monroe senior Jake Hirsbrunner was fourth (16:11.50).
“I can't complain. Just getting back here is a task itself. Being on the podium again is wonderful,” said Harms, who ran a 16:05.32 as a junior.
“The course was a little muddy in parts. The footing might have been a little off, but overall it was really firm. I like a fast course, and it was really nice.”
Harms said he will always remember the finish line at the Ridges and crossing it four times during his illustrious career.
“This year the end came a lot sooner,” he said of the race. “I knew where it was but it seemed like it went by a lot faster like the past four years.
In the Division 2 girls race, Whitewater sophomore Sarah Ziolkowski was 22nd in 15:43.55, Clinton junior Julia Kaster finished 23rd in 15:43.95 and Evansville junior Brielle Greenleaf was 76th in 16:27.29.
Competing as an individual in the Division 1 boys race, Janesville Parker junior Keegan McCluskey finished 18th overall in 16:22.98.
Janesville Craig senior Evan Lalor was 77th overall in 17:01.08, while Cougar freshman Nate Farrell was 106th in 17:91.31.
In the girls Division 1 race, Milton sophomore Brynn Lunaas finished 135th in 16:20.00.
In the boys Division 2 race, Brodhead/Juda senior Dylan Johnson placed 22nd in 16:54.49. Walworth Big Foot junior Fletcher Strahan was 26th in 16:56.74.
Next up for Harms is the Whippets' pending basketball season.
“I'm from a basketball family. Up until eighth grade, I thought I was going to be a basketball player,” he said. “Then I found running and now it is my favorite thing to do.”
Harms said he is also pursuing his options to run in college, preferring to stay in the Midwest. He is considering majoring in business.
He also still has his senior track season on the horizon—where he missed out on a sixth-place finish at state and a spot on the podium in the 3,200 by less than a second.
However, Harms was pleased to finish his prep cross country career on center stage.
“I can't think of anything better to finish my high school career,” he said.