With senior Sam Anderson out due to an injury, the top-ranked Panthers finished with 83 points to win the State Championship over second-ranked and defending State Champion Madison West (124) and 12th-ranked Eau Claire Memorial (126) at the WIAA Division 1 State Meet at The Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids Saturday, Nov. 2.
The State Title was the 10th in school history for SPASH, and its first since 2008.
“It feels great,” said junior Derek Cruz. “I came into this season thinking maybe we had a shot, and then it really kind of went away when we found out that Sam Anderson was hurt.
“And we just really pulled together,” said Cruz. “Everybody stepped up and did their part.”
“It’s an incredible story,” said 37th-year SPASH boys cross country coach Donn Behnke. “I told these guys last week, they ‘can’t win a State Meet, because we don’t have the track times, we don’t have the credentials and we lost Sam Anderson, the No. 6 returner in the state.
“‘How are we going to win a State Meet?’” said Behnke. “‘It just doesn’t add up.’”