Stoughton Boys Cross Country - Jayden Zywicki

Stoughton sophomore Jayden Zywicki (second from left) sprints to the finish line at the Division 1 state meet Saturday, Nov. 2, in Wisconsin Rapids. Zywicki finished 104th in 17:14.2.

Before he climbed hills at the Division 1 state meet, Stoughton’s Jayden Zywicki had to overcome a hill of health.

Zywicki fought through a cold to finish 104th out of 190 runners with a time of 17:14.2 on Saturday, Nov. 2, at the Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids. His time was the 13th-best among all sophomores.

“I wanted to get in the top 75 and go under 17 minutes,” Zywicki said. “But my goal at the beginning of the year was to get to state, so at least I accomplished that.”

Stoughton boys coach Patrick Schneider had the talented sophomore cut back on mileage and taper leading up to the meet. Zywicki did a little bit of speed work, but he missed school Wednesday and did not run Thursday. He opted for Ibuprofen to help him overcome a stiff body and sore throat at state.

“For his first performance at state, I thought it was a good learning experience,” Schneider said. “It’s also hard because in all of his races this year, he’s been at the front. It was good to get his feet wet at state, and hopefully he’ll be back.”

Zywicki averaged 6:14.8 per mile. He was 80th after the first mile (5:12.4) and 96th at the two-mile mark (10:59.5).

“The pace was definitely a lot faster than I was used to,” Zywicki said. “Mile two was probably the hardest one, but I picked it back up during the third mile because of the adrenaline of the meet.”

Zywicki said his goal for next year’s state meet is to finish in the top 50 with a time under 16:30.

“I fully expect he’ll get better and faster,” Schneider said. “He learned a lot about running distance this year. He was running 800s in track last spring.”

Middleton won the Division 1 team title with 104 points. Hortonville senior Jake Krause crossed the finish line first with a time of 15:34.2.