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Finding Favor: Seidel caps incredible CC career

Oct. 31, 2011

Move over Suzy Favor. You've got company in the WIAA state high school cross country history books.

University Lake School senior Molly Seidel joined the former Stevens Point standout and former United States Olympian at the top of the class Saturday morning by winning her fourth straight WIAA Division 3 individual state championship in a state-record time of 13:39.59 at The Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids.

Favor (1982-85) and Seidel are now the only four-time state champions in the 98-year history of the sport.

"It felt amazing right after the race, and it still feels that way," Seidel said the following day. "It was kind of bittersweet for me. It felt great to have won four straight times, and it was a great way to end my high school cross country career. As good as I felt after the race, it was a little sad knowing this was my last high school race at The Ridges. I love that place."

Once again, Seidel dominated the race, winning by 41 seconds over Spring Valley junior Breanna Colbenson (14:20.79). Seidel broke her own state mark of 13:44.32, set at last year's state meet.

The only other runner to break the 14-minute mark was Division 1 winner Alexandria Fons. The Franklin sophomore won her event with a time of 13:56.48. Fons has now won two straight D1 titles and could find herself in company with Favor and Seidel if she can win two more titles in her final two years of the sport.

Seidel, 17, who is being recruited by just about every major university in the country, has already made visits to Duke, Georgetown, Stanford and Notre Dame. She also plans on visiting Harvard and Wisconsin.

Three years perfect

Saturday's win kept the most decorated athlete in ULS history undefeated the last three years. She's only lost three times in her high school career, all three times coming as a freshman in 2008.

Seidel got off to a her usual fast start on Saturday, running with Colbenson and third-place finisher Andrea Ostenso of Ladysmith for the first half-mile. At that point of the race, Seidel starting pulling away.

"Both Breanna and Andrea started out pretty fast, and I didn't want to get behind them," Seidel said. "My splits got a little messed up I think because of that. I didn't expect to be going that fast so early. But everything worked out in the end."

Seidel said she got a little emotional coming down the stretch with several thousands fans cheering her on, knowing they were witnessing history.

"It was so much fun all four years running at state," Seidel said. "The Ridges and the state meet is such a great place to compete. The fans are terrific. Unlike other sports, everyone seems to cheer for all the runners. To have all those people encouraging me as I was coming to the finish like made me feel special. It was a special feeling at the end. It's something I'll never forget."

She won the title as a freshman with a time of 14:36 and then won as a sophomore at 14:33.9.

Seidel has two more cross country meets to compete in this month. She'll run in the Border War meet against Illinois on Nov. 12 and then run in the National Foot Locker regional meet at UW-Parkside on Thanksgiving weekend.

Isabel runs fifth

Not only did Molly have a big race on Saturday, but so did her sophomore sister Isabel. Isabel, running in the state field for the second straight year, finished in fifth place in the field of 151 runners with a time of 15:06.

"I'm so proud of my sister, you can't believe it," Molly said. "For her to come up here and finish fifth is great. I thought she did a great job. For both of us to finish so well in our final meet together was great. I'm going to miss not running with her. But we still have the track season to look forward to."

Isabel, who also plays field hockey at ULS, only got in five practices all season.

"To do what Isabel did without much practice tells you the kind of athlete she is," said ULS coach Mike Dolan. "She plays field hockey so doesn't get to practice as much as she's like. To have both of those girls do so well made the season one for the record books."

Last year Isabel finished eighth with a time of 15:26.

Best times

Top 5 runners in 2011 State Cross Country meet (all divisions)

Molly Seidel ULS 13:39.59
Alexandria Fons Franklin 13:56.48
Breanna Colbenson Spring Valley 14:20.79
Jackie Dubnicka Arrowhead 14:26.65
Maddy Haupert Aquinas 14:27.09

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