Erika Mills, left, and Chloe Zache show their support for the Ripon cross country team. They are the sisters of runners Isaac Mills and Ethan Zache (EZ).
Erika Mills, left, and Chloe Zache show their support for the Ripon cross country team. They are the sisters of runners Isaac Mills and Ethan Zache (EZ).

Going into last week Saturday’s sectional meet, Ripon Tiger head cross country coach Chris Gatzke told his boys’ team where each runner had to finish in order for it to qualify for the state tournament.

  • Riley Gatzke: top 10 
  • Quyn Duffy: top 10
  • Ethan Zache: top 15
  • Ethan Kovalaske: top 25
  • Daniel Mader: top 25   
  • Nic Stenholt: top 40
  • Max Beuthin: top 40

   And heading into the final stretch, the Tiger runners — with the exception of one — were right where they needed to be.

   Then, disaster struck.

   With around 300 meters left until the finish line, Duffy felt ill and collapsed, and was unable to finish the race.

   He was running in the top 10 at the time of the incident, alongside teammate Riley Gatzke.

   Ripon couldn’t recover from losing one of its top-two runners. It finished in third place as a team — 10 points out of the second and final state-qualifying position.

   Mader also had an off race for the Tigers, finishing around 15 spots back from where he has been.

   Cedar Grove-Belgium won the sectional meet, which took place at Lake Breeze Golf Course in Winneconne, with 83 points.

    Grafton followed with 98, while rounding out the field were Ripon (108), Waupun (121), North Fond du Lac/Oakfield (136), Wautoma/Wild Rose (139), Kettle Moraine Lutheran (192), Berlin (210), Kewaskum (220), Winneconne (227), Lomira (284), Omro (318), Mayville (388), St. Lawrence Seminary (401), Random Lake/Ozaukee (403) and Campbellsport (404).

Read the full story, which includes comments from Ripon head coach Chris Gatzke in the Oct. 26, 2017 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth.