Senior Grove distance runner found motivation from last year

By Tim Wester

Kevin Hall (Mike Ramczyk Photo)

If cross country allowed mulligans, Union Grove senior Kevin Hall would have taken one at the WIAA Division 1 State Cross Country Championship in Wisconsin Rapids last year.

Hall battled extreme fatigue from a lack of sleep the night before and experienced painful side cramps during the race that resulted in him finishing with his slowest time of the year in 17:30.

The memories of the frustrating result on the state’s biggest stage stuck with Hall for the past year and served as motivation.

The motivation forced Hall to change his diet and train harder last offseason.

His rigorous work ethic paid off as he finished ninth at 16 minutes, 40 seconds to earn the last individual qualifying spot at an Oct. 26 WIAA Division 1 Arrowhead Sectional.

Hall’s big day helped the Bronco boys finishing fourth overall with a 128.

“I was really hoping to make it back again to state,” Hall said. “I was kind of planning on getting back and making a better appearance this year.”

With part of his mission accomplished, his next step is to prepare for a better state appearance, which will be Saturday at Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids.

“I’ve already gotten lots of sleep this past week ahead of the race,” Hall said. “I’m also making sure I dress warm for the race because it’s supposed to be in the 30s. The coldest race I’ve ran in the past was in the 40s, so I need to make sure I dress warmer than I did last year.”

Hall’s preparation has impressed Broncos head coach Mike Mikula.

“Kevin is excited to get back,” Mikula said. “He felt last year was him getting used to the course and knowing what it’s like and wants to improve his time from last year. That’s the realistic goal going into this race.”

Hall’s only regret is not getting to run with some of his teammates who narrowly missed qualifying for state.

Junior Marcus Johnson finished two places behind Hall in 16:49.4, while Hunter Reich finished in 16:53.7. Senior Tommy Bretl finished in 17:32.1 and freshman John Stamm ran the race in 18:55.5

“I was hoping more of my teammates would make to state,” Hall said. “Marcus and Hunter were a couple spots behind me which was kind of a bummer. When competed in one of the toughest sectionals in the state and it’s hard not to compare our times to other sectionals and notice that we would have finished higher there. But it is what it and nothing is going to change the results.”

The talented trio helped the boys team earn its highest finish at sectionals in school history.

“If you would have told me that we would have had three guys finish in the 16-minute range, and one in the 17 minute range and another in the 18-minute range, I would have thought chances to get state would have been pretty darn good,” Mikula said. “It was a highly competitive sectional.”

For the full story, see the Nov. 1 edition of the Westine Report