Luka DiMaggio

Verona’s Luka DiMaggio (right) races Madison West’s Ryan Reed to the finish line Saturday, Sept. 7, at the Verona Invitational. DiMaggio finished fifth with a time of 16:43.8.

Madison West opened its season Saturday, Aug. 31, with a win at the Glenn Herold Invitational in Watertown.

The Regents won the meet with 29 points thanks to four runners in the top seven. Julian Gary won the 5,000-meter race with a time of 16:54.1. John Lee (17:25.3), Eli Gore (17:30.3) and Michael Kuhn (17:35.2) were fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively. Ryan Reed took 10th with a time of 17:43.6.

West ran with heavy hearts after assistant coach Jim McCoy collapsed while running with the Regents on Aug. 23 and died a day later at UW Hospital.

West continued to run inspired, finishing second with 100 points at the 23-team Verona Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 7.

Reed raced to seventh place with a time of 16:44.4. Gore (16:45.3) and Lee (16:48.8) finished ninth and 11th, respectively. Kuhn was 21st in 17:17.1. Paul Treiber (52nd, 17:52.2) and Toby Sibert (67th, 18:18.3) also competed for West.

Madison La Follette won the team title with 61 points, thanks in large part to Chris Wolfe’s individual victory in 16 minutes, 20.1 seconds. The Lancers also had two other runners in the top 10, and their fourth and fifth runners took 23rd and 24th, respectively.

VERONA

Luka DiMaggio continued his strong start to the season with a fifth-place finish on his home course in the Verona Invitational.

The talented Verona senior traversed the 5,000-meter course in a time of 16:43.8. DiMaggio sensed midway through the race that he needed to keep up his fast pace to stay with the top competitors.

“I definitely felt the pace at the end of the first lap and going into the second lap going up the hill,” he said. “I knew it was going to be a really tough last lap, but that’s the way it should be. This is one of the toughest courses in the state.”

Verona finished sixth out of 23 teams with 196 points, and fourth out of six Division 1 teams, despite having only five competitors. Aidan Manning finished 13th with a time of 16:58.9. Three freshmen – Blake Oleson (37th, 17:36.3), Max Metcalf (49th, 17:51.9) and Ryan Cassidy (18:42) – rounded out the Wildcats’ lineup.

Verona had three of the top four runners and finished second Sept. 1 at the Glenn Herold Invitational.

DiMaggio finished second with a time of 16:56.2, 2.1 seconds behind Gray. Natahn Neitzel took third (17:10.1), and Manning was third (17:13.5). Oleson placed 14th (18:12.7) to round out the top four for the Wildcats.

Verona and 15 other teams will compete in the West Invitational on Saturday at Madison’s Lake Farm County Park.

OREGON

Yordanos Zelinski recently returned from a trip to visit family in Ethiopia, meaning he did not have a full training load to prepare for his sophomore season.

Dealing with the common cold at the Verona Invitational morning didn’t make things any easier.

Zelinski persevered to finish 18th with a time of 17:12.4. His time was the fourth-best out of all Division 2 runners.

“You have to work your body,” Zelinski said. “You can’t just come out here and run 5,000 meters in 17 minutes. You have to be mentally and physically built to do it.”

Oregon finished 12th out of 23 teams with 336 points, and fifth out of nine Division 2 teams. Raul Ramos took 51st with a time of 17:57.5, and Brendan Dieter was 82nd (18:31.1). Turner Sieren (18:50.5) and Quinton Bush (18:50.8) finished 92nd and 93rd, respectively to round out the Panthers’ top five.

Deaken Bush (116th, 19:39.3) and Odin Beck (133rd, 20:13.1) also competed for Oregon.

“I think they were a little disappointed with the way we started the season at Watertown, so they were looking forward to another meet to prove themselves,” Oregon coach Erik Haakenson said. “We ran with some of the top groups and held on really well, especially with this being a two-lap race. That second lap can make or break a run.”

The Panthers finished eighth with 213 points at the Glenn Herold Invitational.

Zelinski paced Oregon in 18th place with a time of 18:19.6. Ramos was 32nd (18:41.2), and Dieter was 58th (19:26.7). Sieren (61st, 19:29.8) Quinton Bush (64th, 19:34.5) and Deaken Bush (88th, 20:20.5) rounded out the Panthers’ top six.

Oregon will be back in Watertown on Tuesday, Sept. 17, for the Badger Challenge.