In what was somewhat of a rebuilding season for the Coach Becky Shamburg and her Hiawatha Red Hawk Cross Country team, the team continued to show its staying power, as both Justin Hodge and Kate Madsen earned State medals at Saturday’s 3A State meet at Rim Rock.
Madsen led the qualifying Lady Red Hawk team on Saturday, coming in 18th overall, at a time of 20:58.8. The junior has led the team all season, with a pair of freshman making strides behind her, as Darcy Lierz finished next for Hiawatha at 22:01.2 to take 40th, and Emma Boswell at 22:40.5 to finish 60th. Madison Gilbert came in 81st at a time of 24:27.5 in 81st, Nikki Stueve ran 25:46.7 to take 89th, Kiara Stone ran 26:41.0 for a 92nd place finish and Paige Campbell finished 93rd at 26:45.2.
The Lady Red Hawks finished 9th overall as a team at the meet, another impressive feat given the squad was replacing three scoring runners from last year’s State team. Shamburg said she was uneasy coming into the season with a need to fill those roles, but that her team has lived up to the expectations the success of the program has placed on them, notably with three freshmen stepping in to compete at State.
Justin Hodge was the lone Red Hawk runner on the boys side of the race, and the junior continued his impressive run of finishes, earning a medal with a 15th place run of 17:18.8. Hodge and Madsen both are now three for three in their high school careers in earning medals at State. Hodge finished 5th as a freshman and 11th a season ago, while Madsen ran 14th in her first season and 11th as a sophomore.
The Red Hawks will lose just one senior runner this season, in team captain Madison Gilbert, who Shamburg said was an outstanding leader for the team this season.
“The hardest part of the season in saying goodbye to my seniors,” said Shamburg, adding, “The season went too fast and I am already counting the days to when we can start practice again.”