Dasha Vorontsov was a steady force for the Oregon girls cross country team all season.
The talented freshman, nicknamed “The Siberian Express,” was consistent as ever in her first race of the season without her teammates. She finished 46th out of 189 runners with a time of 19:37.4 at the Division 1 state meet Saturday, Nov. 2, at the Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids.
“I was really nervous because I didn’t know what to expect,” Vorontsov said. “I watched a video of a race on the course, but you don’t truly know until you run it with all those people.”
Her time was the fifth-best among all freshmen, as well as 27.2 seconds and 35 spots better than conference champion Grace Jenny of Stoughton.
“I didn’t set any limits for Dasha. There’s no need to,” Oregon girls coach Doug Debroux said. “I think the sky’s the limit for her. She pushes her teammates, and I’m really proud of what they all did this year.”
Vorontsov averaged 7:06.5 per mile. She was 46th after the first mile (6:01.8), moved up three spots after crossing the two-mile mark at 12:31, and crossed the finish line in a large park of runners.
“I ran the first two miles pretty well,” she said. “I felt like I could’ve run the third mile faster, but overall, I think I did pretty well pace-wise.”
Debroux kept Vorontsov’s training normal in the week leading up to the state meet. He said the entire team peaked at the conference meet, and tried to maintain their peak until the end of the season.
“We cut down on the mileage, but not on the sharpness,” Debroux said. “We’ve been able to do our long run Monday, Tuesday is our recovery day, Wednesday is our hard workout, then we go in the pool and run in the wells Thursday. We finish with a nice pre-race run Friday.”
Even though she competed alone, Vorontsov trained with her teammates all week, and the team made the trip north to support her at state.
“It makes me really happy knowing I don’t have to do anything by myself,” Vorontsov said.
“It’s a close-knit group that bonds well by working hard,” Debroux added. “They aren’t a group that needs artificial things to bond. When it comes time to run seven miles in the summer or run in the snow at sectionals, they’re ready to run for each other.”
Muskego won the Division 1 team title with 72 points, as all seven of its runners finished in the top 38. Onalaska junior Kora Malecek crossed the finish line first with a time of 17:44.6, almost 30 seconds better than runner-up Lauren Pansegrau of Middleton.